English Lemon Cheesecake with Berry Compote

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This is an egg free, no-bake cheesecake which has the perfect sweet/tangy balance.  There are many recipes out there with a similar basic recipe but I have (as i do) adapted this one for my own taste palate and tin size!

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients

For the base:

16 digestive biscuits

120 g melted butter

For the cheesecake filling:

300 g condensed milk

300 ml double cream

300 g cream cheese

NOTE:   To increase the number of servings, I occaionally increase the measurements of condensed milk, double cream and cream cheese by 50g  if I have extra amounts handy.

For the compote

1/2 cup frozen berries (strawberries, raspberries, summer fruits, forest berries or mixed)

1 tbsp jam or conserve (I use raspberry conserve)

1 heaped tsp sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

Method

  • Grease an 8 inch loose bottom cake pan
  • Crush the digestive biscuits leaving some larger bits (do not over crush).  Melt the butter in the microwave in ten second bursts.  Pour the butter into the crushed biscuits and combine.  Press this mixture into the cake pan and flatten down using the back of a spoon. Refrigerate while you make the cheesecake mixture.
  • Place the double cream in a large bowl and whip  until soft peaks.  Set aside.
  • Wash and dry 2 lemons. Roll them on a hard surface to soften slightly.  Grate the rind using a very fine grater. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze to collect the juice (no pips please!).  Mix the rind into the juice and set aside.
  •  In another large bowl, whisk the cream cheese for 30 seconds until soft and smooth.  Slowly beat in the condensed milk until silky smooth.  Add in the double cream and whisk to combine. Add the lemon juice in gradually while mixing with the whisk.  You will notice the mixture thicken significantly.
  • Pour the cheesecake mixture over the biscuit base and chill for at least 6 hours.
  • To make the compote, place the frozen berries in a colander and briskly rinse under a tap.  Without losing the water and juice from the berries, quickly place them into a saucepan and set to heat on a low flame. Add the sugar and bring to the boil.  If it looks dry, add a table spoon of water at any stage.   Add the tablespoon of lemon juice and the jam and heat until it thickens slightly.  Take off the heat and pour into a serving bowl to cool down before placing into the refrigerator to chill.
  • To serve, remove the cheesecake from the pan and place on a serving dish.  Cut a slice onto a small presentation plate and add a heaped dessert spoon of the compote on the side.  Make sure after serving your guests, you take a nice piece for yourself and enjoy every last bite!

 

 

 

 

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Coffee Buttercream Recipe

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This deliciously smooth frosting is one of my favourites.  It goes very well with any cake flavour but best pairs up with coffee cake.  For a good coffee cake recipe click here.  If you do use this recipe, increase all the ingredients by 5o% so use 6 eggs, 12 oz flour etc.  Bake in two 9inch round pans. Then use the below frosting recipe to fill between the two cakes and cover. That will yield 12 generous servings.

My recipe for the coffee buttercream is slightly adjusted to the one in the link.

Ingredients:

250g salted* butter softened to room temperature

2 cups of icing sugar

2 teaspoons of instant coffee (I used Columbian arabica) dissolved in a tablespoon of boiling water.

Method:

1. Beat the butter on medium high speed for 2 minutes.

2. Add the icing sugar 1/3 cup at a time, scrapping down the bowl regularly and beating with each addition. Occasionally a little less or more icing sugar may be needed to reach the desired consistency.

TIP: icing sugar has a tendency to fly everywhere so place a damp tea towel near the mixture to catch the dust.  If your mixer does not have a splash guard, place a damp tea towel on top too or stir each addition in carefully before starting the beaters.

3.  Slowly pour in the dissolved coffee with the beaters running.  Scrape down the bowl and give it a final beat on high for a minute or until whippy.

*I find salted butter produces a better result in baking and in frosting recipes compared to unsalted.

Most frosting recipes may look simple but can be tricky to get to the correct consistency.  This particular frosting is very easy to get a perfect consistency and taste.  Happy baking!

Frozen Berries and White Chocolate Muffins

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This recipe is great when fresh berries are not available (either out of season or one of those ‘I need muffins now!’ times).  It uses frozen mixed summer fruits but I only used the blueberries, cranberries and raspberries.  I’ve made my own muffin wrappers which not only looks fabulous but allows me to make them extra large!

To make the muffin wrappers;

I made some using greaseproof paper and some using lined parchment.  The method is the same for both.  The greaseproof paper one looked more authentic (I’d like to try with white baking paper next time) but the lined parchment had the benefit of holding its shape better and didn’t show any grease marks.

I used this link to make these but the method is outlined below

Cut the wrappers paper into approximately 15 cm squares.  Place the paper centrally on an inverted glass just smaller than the diameter of the muffin tray holes and fold the paper around the glass.  Repeat for all 12 wrappers.

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Lined Parchment

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I also made some using greaseproof paper

 

Frozen Berries

Frozen berries will release a lot of fluids once thawed.  This can make your batter runny but worse still, it can cause pink and blue streaking in your batter discoloring the final result. Fresh berries do not cause this but as we are using frozen berries in this recipe, it is important to drain excess fluid from the berries.  To do this, place the berries in a colander, wash briefly under cold water and leave to drain for 30 minutes.  Most of the fluid will drain off as they thaw.  As an extra precaution, dry slightly on paper towels while you prepare the batter.

 

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Liquid released from berries as they thaw

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Drying excess liquid on paper towels

 

 

Ingredients

For the Crumble:

2 heaped tbsp plain flour

2 heaped tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 tbsp butter

For the muffins:

3 cups self raising flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup soft brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

100g white chocolate chunks or drops

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sunflower oil

1 tsp vanilla flavoring

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 1/2 cups frozen berries

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 165º C.  Place the ingredients for the crumble in a bowl and use the tips of your fingers rub the butter into the sugar and flour to make crumbs

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    Crumble consistency

  2. In a large bowl place all the dry ingredients (flour, sugars, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and chocolate chunks).  Mix to combine.
  3. In a jug, place the oil, milk, vanilla, eggs and mashed bananas and whisk using a simple whisk.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and use a whisk to combine. Gently fold in the berries, to distribute, taking care not to streak the batter.  A little bit of streaking may occur but it doesn’t show up when baked.
  5. Use an ice cream scoop to put two scoops into each muffin case.
  6. Top with a teaspoon of the crumble topping.

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    Top each muffin with the crumble mix

  7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

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    After 30 minutes of baking. These muffins are BIG!

Cool the muffins to room temperature and store in a air tight container. Consume within 48 hours.

These make great lunchbox items or afterschool snacks!

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My daughter enjoying her muffin while walking home from school

 

 

 

 

 

Salted Caramel Cake

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Salted Caramel Cake

This dense flavor-packed cake featured on Junior Bake Off (the childrens version of The Great Brish Bake Off).  The kids were given 1hr 20minutes on the show but in reality you need double that if you want to allow for preparation and cooling. I didn’t use the recipe on the website so this is my own variation but I did get my daughter (the ‘junior’ part) to help out with the decoration.

This cake is all about preparation. You can prepare certain items before hand to make it easier to assemble especially if kids are helping out. You can also buy some of the fillings and decorative components to the cake e.g. caramel sauce, packet chopped nuts, dream whip/ squirty cream etc. Below is the recipe of the cake I made from scratch.

Ingredients Serves 16

8 oz Butter (Softened)

7 oz Caster Sugar

4 Eggs

9oz Self Raising Flour

Vanilla ( 1/2 a bean or 1 tsp extract)

3 to 4 tbsp. milk

1 cup caramel sauce –  I used this  salted caramel sauce recipe found on Sally’s Baking Addiction.

125g salted peanuts

400 ml double cream (600 ml if you include for the caramel sauce recipe above)

Butter Cream ( 3/4 cups butter and 2 cups icing sugar – see recipe details in the method)

Method

Prepare the caramel sauce as directed on Sally’s website.

To prepare the chopped nuts:

Preheat the oven at 180C.  Place the peanuts on a baking tray lined with baking/greaseproof paper. Using a damp cloth, wipe the excess salt off the peanuts.  Bake the nuts until golden brown (about 20 minutes). Cool the nuts then crush using the end of a rolling pin.  Set aside.

To make the Madeira cake, cream the butter with the sugar until pale.  Add the vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Finally, fold in the flour, alternating with the milk until well combined.  Split the mixture between two round 9 inch greased and lined pans and bake in a pre-heated (160 C) oven for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Cool cakes to room temperature. Trim the top of the cakes to remove the brown tops and uneveness (optional but the cake will have a cleaner finish when you cut into it)

Whip 200ml of the double cream to soft peaks.

Place one of the cakes on a serving plate or cake board with the base side of the cake facing the cake board. Spread 1/3 of the caramel sauce over the top. Cover this with the whipped cream and place the second cake on top with the base side facing upwards. Set aside while you make the butter cream.

To make the buttercream, beat 2/3 cup of butter until pale. Beat in 2 cups of icing sugar gradually adding a very small splash of milk to aid mixing.  Add the second third of the caramel sauce into the buttercream and beat until smooth and spreadable.

Using a hot palette knife, spread the butter cream over the top of the cake and down the sides.  Try and get the top of the cake as smooth as you can.

Press the chopped nuts into the sides of the cake. Use the palette knife to press the nuts neatly around the bottom edge of the cake tucking any stray nuts in.

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Fill a piping bag (no nozzle) with the remaining caramel sauce.  Cut the tip to make a 5mm hole.  Pipe lines across the top of the cake about 1cm apart.  Next, run a toothpick perpendicular to the caramel lines to drag the caramel down to form a V. Continue along the top of the cake, each time going in the opposite direction to create the pattern.  This is the part my daughter enjoyed most!

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To finish the cake, Whip the remaining cream (about 200 ml) and pipe a neat border around the top edge of the cake.

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Salted Caramel Cake

Remember this cake contains fresh dairy ingredients so store in the refrigerator and take out 30 minutes before serving.

Krunchie!

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Crunchy Krunchie Granola Bars

These wholesome nutty oaty granola bars are even tastier than the best of the ready-made ones out there.They are full of good ingredients, do not contain preservatives, are cheaper to produce and will store for weeks. It’s a recipe that’s been passed down in my family and it’s still made very regularly by my mum and aunts. Krunchie is a family favourite! You can have it for breakfast with your coffee or as your sweet treat in the evenings with your tea. It’s a healthy and handy snack for kids on the mornings they don’t feel like breakfast or when they’re on the go.  This recipe will make plenty so you can share with your friends and neighbours. Who doesn’t like Krunchie eh!

Ingredients

3 cups uncooked porridge oats

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 1/2 cups almonds (with skins) chopped lengthwise into slithers

1 1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1 cup packed soft brown sugar

1/2 tsp ginger powder

1/2 tsp nutmeg powder

1/2 tsp cardamom powder

2 tsp baking powder

300g butter

2 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup

Method

Pre heat the oven at  160 C

Place all the dry ingredients in a very large mixing bowl

Melt the butter and golden syrup in a saucepan on slow/medium heat.

Pour the melted mixture into the dry ingredients and stir really well until everything has been coated with the butter mixture and is well combined

Press into a greased 15 inch round cake tray or any metal tray.  You can use two smaller ones if you don’t have a 15 inch round pan.  Smooth the top using the back of a clean spoon. The packed mixture should be 1cm deep.

Bake for 35 to 40 mins at 160C

Remove from the oven and cool for ten minutes.

Use a sharp pointed knife to cut the Kunchies into imperfect squares about 6cm x 4cm *

Use a flat spoon or palette knife to carefully remove the pieces.

Cool on a wire rack.

Store in an air tight container. Will keep for weeks but share some!

* I like the odd bits and ends that result from using the round pan but you can use square pans and keep the squares perfect if you like!

This post is dedicated to my lovely mother and aunts who have perfected this recipe over decades and have shared it with us all :))

Blueberry Pancakes

 

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American blueberry pancakes are so fluffy and fruity. Serve on their own or with golden or maple syrup. These are so easy to make and with the following tried and tested step by step instructions, you can’t go wrong!

Makes 6 large fluffy pancakes

Ingredients:

200 g Self raising flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

200 ml milk

1 teaspoon butter

1 tablespoon oil

125 g fresh blueberries

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Method

1) Place the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a large measuring jug. This makes it easier to pour the batter later on.  In a smaller measuring jug, measure the milk, add the egg and whisk with a fork or manual hand whisk to combine. Pour the egg milk mixture onto the dry ingredients in the larger jug and whisk until combined and no lumps. The batter should be thick but pourable. Add the blueberries and combine carefully.

 

20141128_192102 2) Set a non stick frying pan to heat up on the stove on medium heat. Place the butter in a small bowl and melt in the microwave for 10 seconds.  Add the oil and mix together.  This is going to be the frying fat. Place a very small amount on the hot pan before frying each pancake.

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3) Pour on 1/6 of the batter to form a circle shape about 11 cm in diameter.  It will rise and get bigger as it cooks. Cook for 30 seconds or until the top starts to set slightly. Use a flat spoon to check the underside.  Turn the pancake when the bottom is a light golden brown.

20141128_192424 4) Turn down the heat to slow and cook the second side for about 2 minutes, checking the underside for the desired colour. Flip again and cook the first side on slow for about a minute.  A good tip is to have two pans going at the same time as there can be some waiting around when cooking the second side (washing a second pan takes much less time than the waiting around.  This is particularly handy during busy breakfast times)

 

20141128_193026   5) Remove the pancake and place on a kitchen towel. Cook all the pancakes in the same way. Serve with golden syrup or topping of your choice. Absolutely mouth watering!

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Cappuccino Cake

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This take on the classic tiramisu dessert is absolutely satisfying for all cream cake and coffee lovers. It’s not overly sweet, allowing the flavours of the coffee, cocoa and mascarpone to come through , It has a wonderfully fluffy creamy texture and is light enough for a perfect dinner party dessert.

Serves 12-16

Ingredients

Two nine-inch genoise sponges cakes

1 1/3 cups of coffee, made a cup at a time using 1 heaped teaspoon instant coffee, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 2/3 cup of boiling water.  You can make up the coffee using an espresso machine if you like. I don’t like the taste of instant coffee if Im drinking it but it works well in desserts.

Cocoa powder for dusting

600 ml double cream

300g mascarpone cheese

4 tablespoons of icing sugar

milk as required

1 tsp caramel extract (optional and can use any extract that will go well with coffee e.g vanilla, hazelnut, toffee etc)

Method

Lay one of the sponges on a cake board or a serving plate. Prick holes on the top of the cake using a fork. Make up a cup of coffee as above and use a large spoon to drizzle the entire cake with coffee, making sure to soak the edges of the cake. Leave the cake aside to cool down while you make the mascarpone filling.

To make the Filling:

Whip up 400 ml of the cream to soft peaks.  Add all the mascarpone, icing sugar and extract. Combine carefully using the slow setting on an electric whisk. It will thicken quickly so be very careful not to over whip. use the extra 200ml of cream and small splashes of milk to thin the mixture if it starts to thicken which it will as we leave it to work on the rest of the cake.

Put one-third of the mixture onto the soaked sponge using a piping bag to get an even covering. Do not use a spatula as the soaked sponge is very delicate and it will crumb as you try to spread it.

Dust the top of the filling with a generous amount of cocoa powder.

Place the second sponge on top and repeat the process of soaking in coffee (make a fresh hot coffee).

Place the cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Thin the remaining mascarpone cream with double cream and milk until its piping consistency. Place into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. I used the Wilton 1M.

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There is no need to crumb coat the cake. Just pipe the rosettes directly onto the cake. It’s not a tall cake so only one row of rosettes are needed for the sides. Pipe a second row to cover the junction between the top of the first row and the top edge of the cake. Cover the top of the cake in rosettes filling in any gaps between the roses by piping small stars. Use the following video if you’re unsure of how to pipe rosettes.

Set in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  Dust with cocoa powder before serving.

This cake will keep in the refrigerator for a few days. It slices nicely and plates well as it isn’t too tall so it wont topple!

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