Banana bread is the ultimate comfort bake. When you’re feeling a little quiet, or the sky has ebbed to grey, baking is always a great solace - but there’s something special about baking banana bread.Read More
Millionaire’s shortbread is a treasure trove of luxury. Indeed, its name derives from the wealth of rich components that comprise each slice. It is nothing short of a confectionary dream - buttery, crumbly shortbread and soft, salty caramel atop with bittersweet dark chocolate. Done well, it perfectly harmonises richness, creaminess, sharpness and for me, spice. When you bite into a square of millionaire’s shortbread your teeth should sink and glide effortlessly through each layer, leaving behind deep tunnels, a mapped memory of your pilgrimage to taste nirvana. A piece is the ultimate companion to a drizzly afternoon slump or midday sugar lull, providing an injection of decadence to reboot the dreary.
When I walk through the supermarket and see the stacks of luminous, ludicrous sponge cakes in line, held in their garish, plastic packaging and boasting a four year expiry date, my heart sinks and blood chills. I see science projects, test tube ingredients and lab coats. There is a sterility in this image that is so far removed from the warmth and affection that we wish to demonstrate when presenting a loved one with a cake. It’s cake heartbreak for a baker.
My adoration of beurre noisette inspired my Toscakaka recipe. Toscakaka (or Tosca almond cake) is a traditional Swedish cake, consisting of a light, buttery sponge and a crisp, caramelised almond topping. My variation on the classic deepens the flavour profile of the sponge by use of beurre noisette and golden caster sugar. Furthermore, the inclusion of dusky tonka bean contributes a wholesome sweetness, which coupled with the sharpness of flaked sea salt, elevates a perfectly enjoyable sponge to dizzying heights of decadence.Read More
Without doubt, my favourite Easter time (or quiet honestly anytime) indulgence is a simnel cake. The cake itself is made up of a delicately spiced sponge, bejewelled with glistening crimson and golden dried fruits, and hiding within it a sweet, sticky centre of marzipan. Traditionally, the spices used in the sponge are cinnamon or mixed spice, but I personally find these a little too heavy for spring time. As such, I have replaced them with the rich, nutty flavour of mahleb and a touch of zingy cardamom for a subtle, seasonal heat.Read More
This cake is simple and comforting to make. It is a classic recipe with a much needed spring time hit, that will succeed in lifting the sprits and tempting the appetites of all those around you. Moreover, the cake keeps very well when covered appropriately, so will see you though an unwanted and unexpected bout of snow if necessary - if it isn’t all eaten on the first day of course!Read More
As I’m sure is the case for many people, when I think of flapjack, I think of home, childhood and comfort. Simple to make and sublimely moreish, flapjacks are a firm favourite in the realms of family baking. Certainly, I have fond memories of standing over a bubbling golden pot of melted butter, sweet syrup and sugar, whilst the inviting, nutty aroma drifted through the house, enveloping all those within in warmth and reassurance.Read More
The symbolism of this situation, this feeling, is not a new issue for those of us who work in the service industry. Indeed, there is a widespread problem, chiefly an epidemic of lacking respect.
This tart comes with a disclaimer - it is unapologetically decadent, and enthrallingly addictive. The crisp and buttery mahleb-spiced sweet pastry melts in the mouth, giving way to the encased rich, muscovado custard in all its caramel glory. What’s more, the satisfying snap of the brûlée top adds a warming depth to the tart, with notes of treacle and caramac.
This recipe is one of my favourites to prepare ahead, as once made, the lemon cream can be kept for up to a week in the fridge, and the pastry cases can be baked up to three days before serving. The two simply need to be combined on the day and given a couple of hours to set together. The lemon cream uses both lemon zest and juice for an extra citrus zing, which is complemented by the buttery, rich vanilla bean pastry. The pastry here also uses mahleb, a spice which derives from the ground seeds from of a special type of cherry, and has a delicious bitter almond flavour.Read More
Every family no doubt has their own Christmas traditions, particularly where food is concerned. Mince pies and Christmas pudding are often a staple, however there are certainly individual quirks that mark each of our festive periods as unique. In my family, this was always my Nan’s coconut tarts. They were simple. rustic, and comforting; sweet pastry, raspberry jam and creamy coconut.
For me, these peanut butter and white chocolate blondies are the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon coffee, or companion to share in a day off reading at home. They are rich, gooey and inviting; the earthy peanut is enriched with the caramel undertones of the brown sugar, and lightened by the snap of thick, creamy, vanilla flecked white chocolate.Read More