Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Recipes: Afternoon tea sweets

Victoria Sponge with Blackberries and Spiced Cream


For the sponge cakes:
225g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
225g self-raising flour
2 tbsp lemon juice

For the blackberries:
A punnet of blackberries
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp crème de mure (optional)

For the cream:
250ml double or whipping cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
½ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground mace

Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter and line 2 x 20/21cm sandwich tins. Using a hand held electric whisk or a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy – it should be almost mousse like. This should take a good 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of the flour, mixing lightly between each addition, then add the remaining flour. Add as much lemon juice as necessary to give a dropping consistency, then divide between 2 tins. Bake in the oven for between 20-25 minutes until the sponge has shrunk away from the sides slightly, is springy to touch and a very light golden brown. Leave to cool in the tins for at least 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.

For the filling, put the blackberries in a bowl and sprinkle over the caster sugar and crème de mure if using. Leave to marinade for a short while – they will give out some juices.

Whip the cream then fold in the icing sugar and spices – the cream needs to be just beyond the soft peak stage – then pile this onto one of the sponges. Top with the blackberries and pour over any juices. Place the remaining sponge on top. Dust with icing sugar or caster sugar and serve.

Chocolate Cherry Buns


For the dough:
250ml milk
75g butter
500g strong white bread flour
1 tsp mixed spice (optional)
7g instant yeast
75g soft light brown sugar
1 egg

For the filling:
100g butter, softened
50ml maple syrup
25g dark soft brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
100g glace cherries, halved
100g chocolate chips

To bake:
1 egg
2 tbsp demerara sugar

For the glaze: (optional)
200g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp just boiled water

Line a 26-28cm round deep cake tin or a deep roasting tin with baking parchment and butter generously.

Put the milk in a saucepan and bring up to almost boiling point. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to stand until the butter has melted and it has cooled to blood temperature.

Put the flour and spice in a large bowl with the yeast, sugar and a large pinch of salt. Make a well in the middle. Beat the egg into the milk and butter mixture. Add this to the flour and stir until well combined – you will find that you have a very soft, sticky dough.

Lightly oil your hands and the work surface, then turn out the dough. Knead until no longer sticky and you have a smooth, elastic dough. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave to prove until it has doubled in size – around an hour and a half.

Make the filling. Beat the butter with the maple syrup, sugar, spices and a pinch of salt until you have a creamy, toffee coloured butter.

Turn the dough out and roll or pat out into a rectangle of around 30cm by 23cm. Spread the butter mixture over the dough, then sprinkle with the chocolate chips and cherries. Roll up fairly tightly, then cut into 10-12 pieces.

Arrange the rounds, cut sides down, in the deep cake tin. Brush with egg, then leave for around another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C. Brush again, then sprinkle with the sugar. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until a rich golden brown and well risen.

For an optional glaze, gradually add hot water to the icing sugar until you have a glaze which is thin enough to pour, but won't run off too much. Leave the buns to cool in the tin, then drizzle over lines of the glaze. Leave to set.

Coffee & walnut sponge

A deliciously moist, old-fashioned coffee and walnut cake is one of our very favourite treats and we like to make it with Camp chicory and coffee essence. If you can’t track this down in your local stores, use very strong black coffee instead. Make sure the walnuts you use are nice and fresh.


65g walnut halves
225g softened butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
225g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp Camp chicory and coffee essence
Icing 150g softened butter, cubed
300g icing sugar, sifted
4 tsp Camp chicory and coffee essence
12 walnut halves

Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5. Butter two 20cm loose-based sandwich tins and line the bases with discs of baking parchment. Put the walnut halves in a food processor and blitz them into fairly fine crumbs, but don’t worry if there are a few larger pieces remaining. Tip the walnuts into a bowl.

Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and coffee essence in a food processor and blend on the pulse setting until well combined and creamy. You may need to remove the lid once or twice and push the mixture down with a rubber spatula. Take care not to process for too long or you will end up with a heavy sponge. Add the blitzed walnuts to the batter and mix until just combined. If you don’t have a food processor, finely chop the nuts, tip all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl, then beat it altogether!

Spoon the mixture evenly into the greased and lined tins and smooth the surface. Bake on the same shelf in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes or until the sponge is well risen and just beginning to shrink back from the sides of the tin.

Remove the tins from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the cakes and turning them out onto a wire rack. Peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool completely.

To make the icing, put the butter in a food processor, or mixing bowl, then add the icing sugar and coffee essence. Blend until the icing is smooth and creamy. Add a little more coffee essence to taste if you like.

Place one of the sponges on a plate or cake stand and spread with half the coffee icing. Add the second sponge and spread the remaining icing over the top. Use the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula to create soft swirls and peaks. Decorate with the walnut halves. Leave to stand for at least an hour before serving if possible to allow the icing to become a little firmer.
Recipes taken from The Hairy Bikers’ Comfort Food (BBC1)

The Hairy Bikers wear limited edition HomeSense aprons designed by celebrated British photographer Rankin to support Red Nose Day 2017 and help people living incredibly tough lives across Africa and here in the UK.

The apron is part of a Red Nose Day 2017 range of products available in HomeSense stores nationwide from 13th February and online at www.tkmaxx.com and www.rednoseday.com from 1st February.

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