Cherry cream dacquoise is an exquisite cake which is far easier to make than you’d think. Almond meringue dacquoise layers filled with fresh cream and homemade candied cherries – and you can make ahead and freeze the dacquoise.
Chocolate and glace cherry cake; my deconstructed black forest gateau. Cherries mixed into the batter, cream served on the side, it’s a mere hint of the black forest cake…
Braided chocolate brioche, not too sweet and perfect for breakfast. The braided bread is quite a challenge for me, the messy baker. I’m absolutely no good at tidy shaping. My challahs invariably have one end thicker than the other. Spacing of cookies suffers in giant quadruples melded together. And I am a lousy cake decorator
The best chocolate cake with tart apricot jam filling and chocolate ganache layers. Rich and fudgy gateau, not very difficult to make. Your next birthday cake?
Biscuits with milk and white chocolate chip chunks. These are very nice biscuits – Dan Lepard’s recipe from Baking with Passion – but cookies they ain’t. A bit too austere, not quite the whacking amount of sugars as in the classic cookies, a bit too much flour and they don’t spread.
Traditional recipe for chocolate covered lebkuchen or gingerbreads. Chocolate coated and with jam filling, they are soft and indulgent. And the fun of dipping cookies in melted chocolate is the spirit of Christmas!
Crack or crinkle cookies, deliciously soft and chocolatey, wrapped in cracked icing sugar coating. These biscuits are fairly easy to make and are best baked after the dough chills overnight.
Chocolate genoise cake with layer of raspberry buttercream and whipped chocolate ganache frosting. I can wholeheartedly recommend that combination for a birthday or a non-birthday cake. It can be prepared in stages.
Double chocolate hot cross buns with sticky glaze and white chocolate crosses are messy to eat, difficult to toast and absolutely irresistible this Easter!
The easiest chocolate mousse dessert, whipped ganache flavoured with Grand Marnier. I’m offering the grownup version here: darkest chocolate, Grand Marnier; but it’s made just as well with milk chocolate and no alcohol, or even white chocolate (skip sugar in both cases).
Double chocolate muffins, wonderfully gooey in the centre and a doddle to make. These little things will surely be firm favourites with whoever you make them for, builders or not. Incredibly easy to make it must be said - you needn’t even take care not to overmix like usually with muffins.
Chocolate cake with passion fruit buttercream is more than just a cake; it's the perfect celebration gateau. For when you want to eat the cake, not just look at it.
Chocolate loaf cake with crunchy streusel; not too sweet, not too sickly, just right. With a large mug of milky coffee it will go down a treat even at half past seven in the morning.
Chocolate whoopie pies with marshmallow frosting. The classic is chocolate but they come in other flavours: vanilla, raspberry, red velvet or pumpkin. The filling should be marshmallow (made with Marshmallow Fluff if you’re in New England), but cream cheese, buttercream or chocolate all acceptable too.
Easy chocolate cake with yoghurt, honey and shaved chocolate. The batter is ready in about three minutes and the cake is almost healthy – not much fat and not much sugar.
A different take on a Christmas pudding, with carrots and dates, baked instead of steamed. A cross between a carrot and date cake, a lighter sticky toffee pudding, baked not steamed, sauce still served – this is the one to try.
Christmas Stollen with homemade marzipan. Stollen tastes absolutely divine when still warm from the oven but it keeps very well. The German Christmas bread symbolised baby Jesus swaddled in clothing
Giant cinnamon roll scone cut into wedges is a cross between scone and cinnamon roll. Shall we call it cinnamon scrolls?
Easy sour cream cake with a cinnamon swirl. I set out to make the cinnamon marble cake and recalled an abysmally failed marbling from a couple of years back – a massive clump of white batter was sitting on top of the dark, or the other way round.
Cinnamon twist star bread, a variation on the kanelbullar, Swedish cinnamon buns, theme. A giant kanelbulle twisted into a star bread shape, with cinnamon, apple and chocolate fillings.
Classic plain English scones, light and fluffy. Cream tea is an afternoon meal, not necessarily taken in the afternoon and not always incorporating tea.
Super easy coconut loaf made with shredded coconut. This must be the quickest cake in the world. I wish I could say it is also the finest but the two things rarely go hand in hand.
Soft cookies made with condensed milk, with added chocolate chips and cranberries. These things are truly disgustingly nice (there should be a Disgustingly Nice category on Fiend, don’t you think?), unbelievably easy to make and keep, if you let them.
Cornmeal shortbread with lemon flavour, meltingly tender and gluten free. Cut your favourite cookie shapes, bake till barely coloured and dip in your tea for a classic dunking experience!
Courgette loaf cake or what to do with courgette glut. Let’s be honest here: this is no Great Bake Off contest entry. It’s fairly bland, similarly to the vegetable; will benefit from vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, almond essence, lemon zest and whatever other flavourings you can think of.
Cranberry and walnut bread made with fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped walnuts and orange juice and zest, it has intense flavour, gorgeous cranberry tang and crunchy sugar topping.
Cranberry gingerbread cake, sweet and tart, spiced and festive. Totally perfect for those freaks like me who detest Christmas pudding and fruit cake.
Recipe for croquants aux amandes, French almond cookies. ‘Croquant’ means ‘crunchy’ and these biscuits are wonderfully brittle, softening a little though as they keep. Hazelnut croquants are just as lovely.
Crunchy, melting in the mouth biscuits, a bit like Fox’s Crunch and Creams only better. Crunchy is good when it melts in your mouth and tastes of butter and sugar - which is basically what the biscuit is made of.
Crunchy puff pastry bites sprinkled with cinnamon sugar – an irresistible way of using puff pastry offcuts.
Cupcakes with smashed blueberries and lemon zest. Whatever you call these, and I decided in the end to rechristen them ‘cupcakes’, they are damn nice.
Date and nut squares, with chunks of Medjool dates and a mix of almonds, pecans and pistachio in rich, chewy batter. There’s a reason why these are called ‘food for gods’.
Date and walnut nougat meringues, the most exquisite sweets for all meringue, nougat, marshmallow and turrón lovers. Meringue never tasted better!
Shortbread bars with date, orange and cinnamon filling. Sadly - this won't be about All Bar One, speed dating or trendy wine places. Shame, I know, but then I don't know much about speed dating, in fact haven't dated much at all recently.
Dome cake made with genoise sponge filled with raspberry mousse and buttercream. A lot of faff, admittedly, but it definitely delivers the ‘wow’ factor.
Easy cherry sponge cake with fresh cherries lightly roasted; the base is gently prebaked and the end result is pure, gorgeous summer dessert.
An old fashioned Bundt cake that tastes just like a giant doughnut. It smells like a homely doughnut not a Dunkin’, which is a good thing.
Easy chocolate brownie, intense and fudgy but unbelievably quick to make. My best to date recipe for brownie is quite intricate, with beating eggs to a fluff and then folding and folding.
Easy kouign amann, butter pastry from Brittany. My recipe is a cheat’s kouign amann, easier to make and not quite as calorific as the traditional Breton pastry
Posh restaurant-style muffins with blueberries and tender, moist crumb. This is a recipe out of Professional Chef. It’s good, it’s cheffy, the muffins stay fresh several days and they are not really muffins but more cakey things that you see in fancy restaurants for petit fours.
Ice cream cones made from sweetened, layered filo pastry. Deliciously easy, and can be also filled with cream, mascarpone or custard.
Financier cakes, French almond biscuits made with brown butter are deliciously moist, light and tender, quite similar to madeleines and really easy to make.
Orange and ginger flavoured flapjack, soft and chewy, buttery and slightly sticky. Make it plain as it is, or add a handful of dried fruit or coconut flakes.
Flourless sponge cake with ground walnuts and a layer of apricot jam with grated dark chocolate topping: exquisite, elegant, delicious and gluten free.
Old fashioned molasses cake? Think again – this one has fresh grated ginger added for the zing, and you don’t even need an electric mixer to make it.
Fruity, nut free mince pies made from scratch: the best shortcrust pastry and delicious fruit filling. I never used to like mince pies until I made them at home. The fact is that all shop-bought pies, even the posh, fancy, Hestonised and overpriced numbers taste mainly of too much orange peel and too much booze. As much as I’m the last person to complain about too much booze, I like to keep it separate from cakes. And orange peel is usually nasty, unless you make it yourself (I don’t) or spend quite a bit more money than even Waitrose Cook’s Ingredients charge.
Scones are tricky. Scones are a thing of beauty if you get them right. I have had several goes at them before Dan Lepard came to rescue with his recipe from Short & Sweet – The Best of Home Baking.
Christmas fruit cake - lighter in colour and in taste but still rich and full of raisins, berries, apricots, figs and almonds. It keeps very well but needn’t be made weeks ahead of Christmas – tastes best when it had been standing for a couple of days.
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