Poppy seed cake, buttery and dense with poppy seeds soaked in milk. One of the best ever. Moist and buttery, even the vanilla flavour comes through which is unusual.
A classic pound cake also known as quatre-quarts or madeira. You don’t need to frost or layer it, there are no raisins thrown into the mix, no chocolate goes near it and the only adornment should be a discreet dusting of icing sugar - or a lick of good jam.
Puff pastry tartlets with three kinds of filling: prawn and garlic, spinach and blue cheese and bacon and Cheddar. Puff pastry – party food rescue, the solution for when you crave pizza-type food but can’t be bothered to make the real thing...
Sourdough pull-apart dinner rolls with garlic, tomato, cheese and herb fillings. Here’s my bakers’ party bread: sourdough of course, although I’m still a dilettante who doesn’t calculate her hydration levels.
Pumpkin pie with crust made from scratch and a cranberry layer. What do you know? It is an improvement – and marrying the festive, autumnal couple clearly produces a stable relationship.
Pumpkin bread spiced with cinnamon and cloves, with walnuts and cranberries. I’ll say it very quickly: pumpkin bread is good. Very much the thing to do with this tin of puree knocking about the cupboard.
Raisin cake with a hint of spice, baked in a round Bundt tin. A bucket cake, this, well and truly. Bucket cake, if it needs reminding, is a concoction created by throwing things into a bucket and stirring them around a bit.
Light and airy sponge cake with a layer of raspberries on top. The secret is to push the fruit into the cake mix, otherwise you’ll end up looking into the oven every five minutes and deciding it’s still not cooked in the very middle – the raspberries on top are too juicy and wet!
Sponge cake roll with cream and raspberry filling. A Swiss roll, jelly roll, or cream roll – it can be filled with buttercream, mascarpone or whipped cream plus any seasonal or frozen fruit. Truth be told, it’s lovely even rolled around good jam.
Raspberry muffers are not muffins. There’s no milk, or cream or yoghurt in the ingredients. It’s an ordinary cake mix baked in muffin tins, just for the variety. And no – they aren’t cupcakes either because no icing? No pink colouring? No little roses...
Roasted red pepper and sun-dried tomato foldovers in simple granary bread dough. They are also known as ‘slippers’ because of their shape.
Red velvet cake frosted with a cream cheese, mascarpone and whipped cream filling. It’s an excellent cake, totally suited for a birthday, layered and all, frosted and decorated – a beauty.
Raspberry and rose flavoured heart shaped cookies with buttercream. Instead of a Valentine card bake a batch of these dainty cookies, tender, sweet and fragrant.
Cheat's sourdough, with yeast but fermenting over 24 hours, with added rosemary and seeds. The taste beats no knead. The texture is fantastic every time. If you have a clay cloche or a cast iron casserole – a no brainer and will come out crusty as anything.
Rustic loaf with low yeast content, heavy crust, open crumb and great flavour. The starter, as per expectations, rose up and bubbled – you only really need a tiny amount over 16 or 24 hours’ fermentation and the wild stuff in the air and in the flour will do their job.
Rye sourdough bread on rye starter, made with 60% rye and some wheat flour, flavoured with caraway seeds. Let it cool completely before slicing; it's best after a day or two.
Sourdough light rye bread with yoghurt. Rye bread is usually thought of as dark, stodgy, dense and weird; Pumpernickel or Borodinsky. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that type of bread but it’s not ideal for toast with butter and jam, for instance.
Sacher torte - as close as you can get to the real thing, rich in chocolate with a hint of apricot jam. This particular recipe should be trusted because it’s Austrian – from Austrian official travel site.
Incredibly tasty famous San Francisco sourdough bread - baked using two different methods. The recipe comes from ‘Baking with Passion’ by Dan Lepard and Richard Whittington.
Homemade sausage rolls – or rather home assembled. A twist more than a recipe. No, no, no – adventurous as I am, I don’t make my own puff pastry, even celebrated master bakers say it’s perfectly fine to use good quality shop bought stuff. The twist is...
Scalded rye and honey loaf with a hint of cinnamon. Scalding the flour works well towards softening the crumb and prolonging the life of a loaf.
Schiacciata di uva - Tuscan grape focaccia. The Italian and the French have a lovely way with flat dough – they salt it, stuff it with olives, ham, cheese, soft fruit, preserves, sugar - whatever you like. This one is harvest festive bread.
Easter spiced biscuits with currants and vanilla icing. This particular recipe uses a mix of wholemeal and plain white flours and – as dubious as I might be about its authenticity, it is a winner as the biscuits taste more unusually crunchy and earthy, less like something you might find next to your coffee cup in any old café.
Seeded and wholemeal, these dinner rolls are still fluffy and airy, perfect with a bowl of soup. This recipe makes an awful lot of them, 18 at least and God knows how many if you shape them smaller.
Seeded sourdough batons with barley, oats and millet grain fermented over four days. My obsession with sourdough isn’t letting up. I’ve got five little – not so little – pots of sour in the fridge, like Winnie the Pooh and his pots of huny.
Sfogliatelle, Italian leafy pastry bites, with creamy ricotta filling. Lobster tails, as they are also known (easy to guess why), must be one of the nicest things that come out of Italy – and that’s of course a serious claim.
Classic shortbread made in the easiest way, flavoured with lemon and sprinkled with sugar. Short. Crunchy. Melty. A spray of crumbs when broken. Sugar covered.
Sicilian pistachio cookies are delicious, meltaway biscuits easily made gluten free. They are about the second best thing you can do with only egg whites, nuts and sugar. Up there with madeleines, financières, said macarons, tuiles and croquants.
The best chocolate cake with dark chocolate frosting. Now what we’ve got here is a shortcut to the best birthday cake ever.
Easter Simnel cake with dried fruit, marzipan layer and icing on top. I decided to forgo the double marzipan whammy for fear that it would make an impossibly sickly end product – also I don’t have confidence in my grill, and my homemade marzipan needs to be cooked.
Easter Simnel cake made with yeasty dough, with marzipan layer inside and marzipan topping. This is Simnel cake made with yeast dough – it appears that the Victorian version was baked thus, unlike the modern variety which, basically, is just like the Christmas cake sans so much booze and fruit.
Snickerdoodles, butter cookies with cinnamon coating. Make them with kids so they roll the dough balls in sugared cinnamon like dung beetles. Also tempting to add choc chips – but then you’d turn the funky snickerdoodles into plain old choc chip cookies which would be a shame.
Soft white, floury old-fashioned baps. Comfortingly squidgy, sticking to the roof of your mouth a little, nom, nom. Perfect housing for burgers as well – I’m telling you, stuff the little sesame buns.
Sourdough baguettes on wheat starter, fermenting over 36 hours. I’ve made these baguettes three times now - completely successful, and just look at those air bubbles…
Sweet sourdough pull apart buns filled with jam. Impossibly sticky, and that’s before the icing. The jam puddle at the bottom of the tin. Pull apart sweet buns are a nightmare to eat but such bliss.
Sourdough no knead white bread on starter made with pineapple juice. Very tasty bread – next time I’ll add some wholemeal or even whole grain flours for a sharper taste.
Soft crust sourdough sandwich loaf bread baked in Pullman tin. Pullman tin is simply a loaf tin with a lid; you can fashion the same thing from foil-wrapped heavy baking sheet placed on top of a regular loaf pan.
Chocolate cake with dark chocolate topping and spider web white chocolate drizzle. The cake is so easy to make it’s embarrassing – but excellent for the kids to be engaged.
Sticky fig upside down cake. The figs get sticky and melt into the almond layer; and if they don’t look quite as appealing as I was hoping – well, the proof of the pudding and all that.
Sticky toffee pudding - date cake with delicious toffee sauce, best served warm. Let’s face it: it’s a date cake. Easy to make, nice and slightly gooey, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with baking it, leaving it dry and eating a slice or two cold.
Light Victoria sponge cake filled with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Airy sponge, almost-melted zesty strawberries, a pillow of cream…
Strawberry cake - or use the mix with any soft seasonal fruit. Very easy, melt-in-your-mouth cake. Once I got so pissed off with l’homme de ma vie that I ate six pieces at one go to make me feel better. It did. The bathroom scales the next morning didn’t though. The basic recipe is pretty much a simple pound cake...
Easy strawberry cake with crumble. This is what I call a bucket cake. Not because it should be on everyone's list of cakes-you-must-eat-before-you-kick-the-bucket ( although it's a lovely cake)...
Summer cherry cake with a hint of cinnamon and minimal effort involved. This cake mix is pathetically simple – and fool proof every time. No mixer needed, it’s almost what the Americans call a ‘dump cake’.
Swedish Tosca cake with almond caramel topping. A nice little number, easy to whip up in 15 minutes plus the baking time and actually perfect for afters or pudding as it can be baked in advance, topped and blasted under the grill at the last minute.
Date cake with tamarind paste and lemon and cardamom icing. I'm sure it would go amazingly with a caramel sauce, served warm from the oven or heated up in a microwave but it’s really good just left at the ‘cake’ stage.
Tarta de Santiago, traditional Spanish almond cake. Three basic ingredients and no electric appliances required: that’s St James’ cake, or tarta de Santiago. It’s a Galician specialty going back to Middle Ages;
Tomato tarte tatin with caramelised plum tomatoes and shortcrust thyme pastry. Cut corners by all means and use puff pastry. But it’s so much more rewarding when it’s a proper tart: slicing into shortcrust base rather than the squishy puff which goes soggy much too soon is worth the effort of producing the pastry.
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