Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia

Today is the first of June and finally it is beginning to feel like Summer. And, of course my mind immediately turns to all the lovely fresh produce that this season yields. Since we are currently celebrating British Tomato Fortnight I am creating recipes that celebrate the diversity of this tasty little fruit. So with caprese salad as my inspiration let me introduce you to my Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia.

Pinterest sized image of Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia Bread with descriptive graphics.

Focaccia is a bread with Italian origins. At its simplest it is a flat, white, airy bread, drizzled with olive oil and having a dimpled appearance. Serve it with salad, soup, pasta or as part of antipasti, the key is in the lightness of its crumb. In comparison, this cherry tomato and mozzarella topped bread with layers of basil hidden within the bread, is almost a meal in itself.

Two images of Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia showing the light, airy crumb of the bread and the gooey, stringy cheese.
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia a feast that really is fun to make and eat!

As the bread bakes the fresh basil and garlic permeate throughout creating an incredible savoury flavour. Also, the fresh, vine ripened tomato flavour intensifies in the heat of the oven. Resulting in a joyfully flavoursome bread that is perfect for sharing, Italian style, around a table full of friends, family and food.

Baked Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia fresh out of the oven
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia

If you haven’t made bread before, please do not worry. Because, as I am writing a recipe I always imagine the person reading it is standing next to me. Since I am a natural chatter-box, I describe each part of the process in easy to understand language and include photos for every step of the recipe. So you can be confident as you start your baking process.

Recipe: Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia

For The Focaccia Dough

250ml Tap Water – at room temperature

7g Dried Yeast – I use Allinson 

1tbsp Runny Honey

350g/12oz Strong White Bread Flour – I use Wright’s 

5g Salt – I use Maldon sea salt

2 Garlic Cloves – finely minced or crushed

2tbsp Olive Oil

Filling And Topping The Focaccia 

2 Generous Handfuls Of Fresh Basil Leaves (approximately 25-30) – one handful for folding into the dough and the second for topping the focaccia

12 Mini Plum Tomatoes – cut in half. Alternatively use 24 small round cherry tomatoes

150g/5oz Approximately 20 Mini Mozzarella Balls – drained

1-2 Garlic Cloves

2tbsp Olive Oil

Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method:

Making The Focaccia Dough

I use a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment for the first part of mixing and proving the dough. Alternatively you can make the dough by hand. Large bowl in the instructions refers to the stand mixer bowl or the bowl used for hand mixing. Also, it is important to weigh all of the ingredients accurately to ensure a successful bake.

  • First of all add the tepid water to a large bowl and add the olive oil and then the honey. Adding the olive oil first ensures that the honey releases easily from the oiled tablespoon.
  • Next add the yeast.
  • Add the flour so that it covers all of the liquid ingredients.
  • Finally add the salt and minced garlic.
  • Fit the bowl to the stand mixer and lower the dough hook.
  • Mix on a low speed until all the ingredients are combined. Increase to a medium speed for approximately 10 minutes until the dough passes the windowpane test. To carry out the test stop mixing/kneading. Remove a small piece of dough and stretch it between your fingers. To pass the test the dough should stretch without tearing until light is visible through the dough. If the dough tears continue mixing/kneading for a further 2 minutes and test again.
  • As soon as the dough passes the windowpane test stop mixing/kneading and scrape any dough from the dough hook into the bowl.
  • Form the dough into a ball, place back into the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel.
  • Place the bowl in a draught free place and leave until the dough is doubled in size.

Knocking Back The Dough And Adding The Fresh Basil Leaves

  • As soon as the dough is doubled in size, turn it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured worktop. Most importantly, ensure the top of the risen dough is in contact with the worktop and the sticky underneath is now on top.
  • Pull out part of the dough with your hand and then tuck it into the centre of the dough.
  • Turn the dough clockwise, approximately 10 minutes if it were a clock and repeat the pulling and tucking technique. Repeat this process until the dough is smooth and not sticky to touch. See bottom right photo.
Four images showing each stage of shaping bread.
Building structure within the focaccia dough.
  • Turn the dough over and press out using your fingertips until it is a roughly square shaped approximately 10”/25cm.
  • Lay one handful of fresh basil leaves on top of the dough.
  • Fold the top third of the dough down and then fold the bottom third of the dough up and over.
  • Turn the dough by a quarter and repeat the folding step.
Detailed images showing fresh basil being folded into bread dough
Folding fresh basil into the bread dough.

Pressing Out The Focaccia Dough And Adding The Toppings

  • Turn the dough over and place onto a lightly oiled baking tray.
  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the dough and use your fingers to press out the focaccia dough, taking care to keep the basil leaves within the dough.
  • Press the halved mini plum tomatoes into the dough.
  • Likewise add the mini mozzarella balls in the same manner.
  • Scatter over the minced garlic and last handful of basil leaves.
  • Finally drizzle lightly with olive oil and add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
  • Leave in a draught free place to rise and preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6, 400F.
Four images showing the focaccia and adding the toppings
Shaping the focaccia bread and adding the toppings.

Baking The Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Focaccia

  • As soon as the focaccia has plumped up around the tomatoes and basil, while doubling in size, it is ready to be baked.
  • Place the focaccia into the centre of the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes.
  • The bread is baked when it is golden on top and underneath, use a palette knife to lift a corner.
  • And once baked remove from the oven.
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil freshly baked.
  • Leave the focaccia to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  • Alternatively, bake earlier in the day and reheat in a moderate oven for 10 minutes prior to serving.

To serve this focaccia I ran a pizza wheel across it at various angles to create interesting shapes and portions.

A pizza wheel is used to divide the Italian bread into portions for serving.
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia divided into portions.

This bread can be made a day in advance, including the toppings. Cover with cling film and refrigerate. To bake, remove from the fridge, allow the dough to come up to room temperature and puff up and then bake as per the recipe.

Any leftover focaccia can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for one day. Also, freezing the focaccia is not recommended due to the fresh tomatoes.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia you may also like these:

Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

Baked cheese olive ciabatta bread being pulled apart to show the gooey cheese.
Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

Tomato thyme garlic focaccia bread cut in half.
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

Garlic Cheese Bombs

Garlic cheese bombs mini bread rolls filled with mozzarella image shows one being pulled apart showing the gooey cheese.
Garlic Cheese Bombs

Because, when I bake, I use the very best ingredients I can afford, this always has an impact on the final flavour. And including locally grown, British produce give me a sense of pride at how incredible our farmers are here in the U.K. Supporting British farmers and also British businesses, such as Room Forty who provide an Afternoon Tea service, is something that I am passionate about. Our country has a wealth of talented people who produce an amazing array of produce and products. While they may be a little more expensive than mass produced imports, what they have in abundance is love and care. Resulting in far higher quality produce grown and made by people who are passionate about what they do.

Do you consider where your food comes from when grocery shopping?

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

The British Tomato Association gifted me the tomatoes produced by Eric Wall to sample and taste during British Tomato Fortnight #BTF19. I have not been paid or received any financial gain for writing this blog post. All opinions, views and content are my own. No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

 

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Lemon Curd Sponge Tart

Anyone who has visited this blog before will probably have picked up on my love of lemons. Bright yellow citrus fruits that instantly transport my kitchen and my mood into a sunny day. Whether I use them I sweet or savoury recipes, their impact on flavour is the same. Fresh, juicy, tangy, this fruit knows how to treat your tastebuds to a flavour party! Today I am sharing my new recipe for Lemon Curd Sponge Tart. A sweet celebration of all things lemon.

 

FF Lemon Curd Sponge Tart

Since I love  Bakewell Tart I wanted to create a similar style dessert with lemon as the foremost flavour. And I have been completely successful. While homemade, buttery, shortcrust pastry provides a crisp base for this dessert, it really is all about the layers. So, on top of the pastry is a generous layer of tart lemon curd, followed by a light, lemony sponge and finally topped with a fresh lemon drizzle icing. The resulting tart is more than the sum of each individual layer.

 

Lemon Curd Sponge Tart

To Drizzle Or Not To Drizzle?

While originally I wanted to create a dessert that could be served with custard, I’m so glad I opted for the lemon drizzle instead. If you do want to serve this warm with delicious Custard that is totally possible too. Simply allow the tart to cool for at least 20 minutes after baking, leave off the drizzle, slice and serve in a bowl with lashings of creamy custard. Also as mentioned previously serving a slightly chilled slice of this tart with a hot cup of tea really allows you to experience all the separate layers as they come together in one mouthful.

 

Lemon Curd Sponge Tart

Although I do sometimes have to leave labels on things I’ve made, saying they need to be photographed before eating, this doesn’t guarantee that my family will play by the rules! Fortunately I had finished the photography of this Lemon Curd Sponge Tart before they descended upon it. Nothing makes me happier than to see a bake on the worktop gradually reducing in size as people help themselves to a slice. That tells me more than anything that could be said.

Recipe: Lemon Curd Sponge Tart Serves 6-8

350g/ All Butter Shortcrust Pastry – see my recipe here

4 Heaped Tablespoons Lemon Curd – I use Waitrose own label

For the sponge

100g/4oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

100g/4oz Caster Sugar

Zest of 2 Lemons – scrub with nail brush under hot water before zesting

1/8tsp Salt

2 Large Free Range Eggs

100g/4oz Plain White Flour – I use Wright’s Baking

1tsp Baking Powder

For the drizzle 

75g/3oz Icing Sugar (confectioners sugar)

Juice of 1-2 lemons

Method: Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, 400F, gas mark 6.

For this tart you will need a 20cm x 5cm (8in x 2in) round, fluted tart tin with loose bottom.

Note: For full step by step instructions with accompanying photographs for rolling out pastry, filling a tart case and blind baking, please see my recipe for Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry.

Making The Pastry Tart Case

  • First of all ensure that the pastry has been chilled in the fridge for at least one hour.
  • Lightly dust the worktop with flour and roll the pastry out to a circle that is slightly wider than the tart tin.
  • Loop the pastry over the rolling pin and allow it to fall gently into the tart tin.
  • Carefully press the pastry into the sides and base of the tin.
  • Trim away any excess pastry.
  • Dock the pastry base with a fork to stop it rising during baking.
  • Scrunch up some baking parchment and line the pastry case with it. And then fill with baking beans/ceramic balls.
  • Place the tin into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  • As soon as the baking time is finished remove the tart from the oven.
  • Carefully use the baking parchment to lift the beans out of the partly baked tart shell.
  • Return the tart to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
  • And then remove the blind baked pastry from the oven and allow to cool.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/160C fan, 350F, gas mark 4.
  • While the pastry is cooling make the lemon sponge.

Making The Lemon Sponge And Filling The Tart Shell

  • Into a medium sized bowl add the butter, caster sugar and salt. Whisk the ingredients together until pale and creamy.
  • Add 2 eggs and sift in the plain flour and baking powder. Whisk until just combined.
  • Now add the zest of 2 whole lemons. Stir with a large spoon to mix.
  • Spoon the lemon curd into the cooled tart shell and spread to form an even layer.
  • Next, spoon the cake batter on top of the curd in small amounts. And then use a fork to spread the cake batter, forming an even layer.

 

Making the sponge filled tart case.
  • Place the filled tart back into the centre of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  • The sponge layer is baked when it is golden in colour and springs back when lightly pressed in the centre.
  • As soon as the tart is baked remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
The baked Lemon Curd Sponge Tart
  • Once the tart is cool remove from the loose bottom tart tin and place on to a plate.

Making The Lemon Drizzle And Finishing The Tart

  • Sift the icing sugar into a bowl.
  • Stir as you add the lemon juice until you have a consistency that can be drizzled from a spoon.
  • Spoon the lemon drizzle over the top of the sponge, stopping at the pastry edge.
  • Leave to set. In warm weather, or to speed up the process refrigerate the tart.
FF Lemon Curd Sponge Tart
Adding the fresh lemon drizzle to the cooled tart.

Finally, slice the cooled tart and serve on a plate with a drink of your choice.

Store any leftover tart for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Lemon Curd Sponge Tart

Golden lemon layers set this dessert apart from anything you might buy in the supermarket.

FF Lemon Curd Sponge Tart
Lemon Curd Sponge Tart each district separate layer.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Lemon Curd Sponge Tart you may also like these:

Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

FF Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova 

FF Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova
Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova

Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake

FF Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake
Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake

As well as enjoying baking to feed my family, friends and neighbours, I also find the process relaxing. Even with the health constraints of my body, which can be very frustrating, I am still able to make a beautiful dessert such as this lemon creation. Since I break down the process over 2 days, making and baking the filled tart one day and then decorating and photographing it the next, I am able to still carry out an activity I enjoy and also achieve a sense of satisfaction. Both of which are important in maintaining a sense of independence and uplifting metal well being. Baking is a form of therapy for me.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

Additionally, the bluebells featured in the photos are from our garden, yet THEY ARE NOT EDIBLE. All parts are toxic, do not use to decorate your bakes.

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Double Strawberry Cake Bars

We are now in a brand new year, chances, decisions, opportunities and endless possibilities lay before us. I adore the start of January. Christmas decorations packed away and a return to ‘normality’. With this blog I want to bring you even more easy, yet delicious recipes and also add more savoury dishes to the menu. Let’s start with these Double Strawberry Cake Bars.

FF Double Strawberry Cake Bars

A crisp, oat biscuit base is topped with strawberry jam and then topped with a vanilla cake sponge studded with oven dried strawberries. Urban Fruits sell a range of dried fruits that I have used in previous bakes such as my Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies. Although the strawberries are dried they are not dry. Think dried apricots. Intense fruit flavour with a chewy bite. Used in these cake bars the strawberries bring an extra depth of flavour as well as texture.

FF Double Strawberry Cake Bars
Double Strawberry Cake Bars

Portable Food

Since my hubby takes a packed lunch to work I try to come up with recipes that travel well. Because these cake bars have a solid biscuit base they are easy to wrap and pop into a lunch box. Likewise, during warmer months they are ideal for picnics. Food that travels well is always a bonus, as it is perfect for taking to friends homes, family get togethers and pot luck gatherings.

FF Double Strawberry Cake Bars
Double Strawberry Cake Bars

Also these cake bars are perfect for munching on, book in one hand, snack in the other. Sometimes I find a book that I cannot put down and happily munch away whilst reading.

Recipe – Double Strawberry Cake Bars makes 16

For the biscuit base 

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

150g/5oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Sea Salt (1/8tsp table salt)

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey 

1 Large Free Range Egg Yolk

150g/5oz Rolled Oats (not quick cook)

125g/4.5oz Plain White Flour

175g/6oz (Half a jar of) Strawberry Jam

For the cake layer 

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

175g/6oz Caster Sugar (I have used golden caster sugar as that’s what was in the cupboard!)

1/4tsp Sea Salt (1/8tsp table salt)

2tsp Vanilla Extract

3 Large Free Range Eggs

175g/6oz Plain White Flour

2tsp Baking Powder

90g/4oz Oven Dried Strawberries – I use 1 packet of Urban Fruit Smashing Strawberry

For the icing drizzle

100g/4oz Icing Sugar (Confectioners Sugar)

2-3 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice

Method:

Making The Oat Biscuit Base

  • First of all line a 22.5cm x 30cm (9” x 12”) deep tin with baking parchment.
  • Into a large bowl add the butter, sugar and salt. Whisk together until pale and creamy.
  • Next add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Whisk together until combined.
  • Sift in the flour and add the oats.
  • Using a large spoon mix the ingredients together until fully combined.

 

FF Double Strawberry Cake Bars
Making the oat biscuit base.
  • Spoon the oat biscuit mixture into the prepared tin. Smooth with the back of a spoon to create an even layer.
  • Place the tin into the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • While the biscuit base is firming up in the fridge preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, 350F, gas mark 4. 
  • As soon as the base has chilled place the tin into the centre of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the tin and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 160C/140C fan, 325F, gas mark 3.
FF Double Strawberry Cake Bars
Chilling and baking the oat biscuit base.
  • While the base is cooling make the cake batter.

Making And Adding The Cake Batter

  • Add the butter, sugar and salt to a large bowl and whisk until combined.
  • Next add 3 eggs and the vanilla extract. Whisk until combined.
  • Sift in the flour and baking powder then add the dried strawberries.
  • Stir with a spoon until the cake batter just comes together.

 

FF Double Strawberry Cake Bars
Making the cake batter.
  • Spoon strawberry jam on to the biscuit base, using the back of a spoon to create an even layer that does not touch the edges.
FF Double Strawberry Cake Bars
Adding a layer of jam.
  • Cover the layer of jam with cake batter. I found it easier to create an even layer using a fork.
  • Ensure the cake batter goes right to the edge. Doing so stops the jam from leaking out.
  • Place the tin into the centre of the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes.
FF Double Strawberry Cake Bars
Adding the strawberry cake layer and baking.
  • The cake layer is fully baked when it is lightly pressed and springs back in the centre.
  • As soon as it is baked remove from the oven.
  • Leave to cool completely in the tin.
  • As soon as the cake is cooled lift it out of the tin using the baking parchment to help.

Portioning And Decorating The Cake Bars

  • First of all, using a sharp knife cut halfway across the width of the bake.
  • Next cut down the centre, creating 4 quarters.
  • Cut down each quarter four times creating 4 Cake Bars per quarter.
  • Separate the cake bars to enable the icing to drip down the sides.
  • In a bowl mix the icing sugar with 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice to create a thick yet flowing icing.
  • Using either a fork or a piping bag with a very small hole, drizzle the icing diagonally across each cake bar.
  • Leave to set.
FF Double Strawberry Cake Bars
Portioning and decorating the Double Strawberry Cake Bars.
  • As soon as the icing is set, the cake bars can be served or stored in an airtight container.
FF Double Strawberry Cake Bars
Double Strawberry Cake Bars

 

FF Double Strawberry Cake Bars
Double Strawberry Cake Bars

Finally, when serving, add fresh strawberries to the plate and stack the cake bars to create height.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Double Strawberry Cake Bars you may also like these:

Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars

FF Double Strawberry Cake Bars
Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars

Rich Raspberry Chocolate Fudge Brownies 

FF Double Strawberry Cake Bars
Rich Raspberry Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Double Cherry Drizzle Oat Cake Bars

FF Double Strawberry Cake Bars
Double Cherry Drizzle Oat Cake Bars

Because I am practical by nature, this naturally translates in the recipes I develop. For example, when making these for a picnic or outside event it is likely that I would leave off the drizzle. Simply to avoid attracting bugs and wasps. Although the lemon in the icing really does bring out the strawberry flavour. Perhaps adding a little lemon zest to the cake? And I’m off again, my head spinning with possibilities based around this one bake!

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

 

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Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova

Finally December has arrived, heralding the start of Winter. And with it a month of festive planning, carols by candlelight and sellotape everywhere! Since, here at home, we also celebrate two birthdays this month, the celebrating can seem never ending. Because there’s only so much cake you can eat, isn’t there? Fear not, because this gluten free Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova is the perfect celebratory dessert.

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova

Tips For The Perfect Pavlova:

For me, Pavlovas always feel like such an elegant dessert. Yet they are simple to make as long as a few basic rules are followed. And they cannot, must not and should not be rushed. Either during the whisking or baking stage. While whisking, all of the sugar must be given time to dissolve in the egg white, otherwise it will leak out during cooling and the meringue will collapse. Likewise, once baked the pavlova should be left to cool slowly, preferably in the oven as it also cools down. As a result of rushing this stage the meringue structure is likely to crack badly.

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova

Please do not let the previous advice discourage you from making a pavlova. Rather I hope it has the opposite effect and encourages you. Take an extra five minutes (that’s 5 minutes not forever!) to ensure the meringue is properly mixed. Another tip is to bake the Pavlova in the evening, leaving it in the oven overnight to cool. And then the meringue can cool slowly overnight without tying up the oven.

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova

And if the meringue does crack, it will be covered with whipped cream and fruit. While no one ever need know!

Recipe: Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova serves 8

4 Large Free Range Egg Whites

200g/7oz Caster Sugar

Juice of half a Lemon

400ml Double Cream (Heavy Cream)

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – I use Nielsen-Massey 

4 Fresh Figs – cut into quarters

300g Frozen Blackberries – I buy them from Waitrose 

1-2 Fresh Pomegranates – seeds removed

Optional – Fresh Mint to garnish

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, 350F, gas mark 4

Making the meringue base:

  • First of all draw an 8in/20cm circle on to a piece of baking parchment. Turn the paper over and place on to a baking tray.
  • Wipe around the inside of a very clean, large bowl with half a lemon.
  • Add four eggs white to the bowl and the juice of half a lemon.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they form a stiff peak.
  • Continue whisking on a medium speed, slowly adding one tablespoon of sugar at a time to the egg whites.
  • When all of the sugar is added the mixture should be thick and glossy. Rub a little of the meringue between your finger and thumb, if it feels gritty continue to whisk. Check again after a couple of minutes. As soon as it feels smooth and silky it is ready.
  • Remove a small amount of the meringue and use it as glue to stick the baking parchment to the baking tray.
  • Spoon the meringue mixture on to the baking parchment, inside the circle.
  • Use a palette knife to shape the meringue into a disc, building up the outside edge.
FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Making the Pavlova base.

Baking the meringue:

  • Place the meringue into the centre of the oven and bake at the preheated temperature for 5 minutes.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 120C/100C fan, 250F, gas mark 1/2 and continue to bake for 1 hour.
  • Do not open the oven during baking.
  • As soon as the baking time has elapsed turn off the oven and leave the meringue  to cool completely in the oven.
  • Once cooled remove the meringue from the oven.

Filling and decorating the Pavlova:

  • Pour the cream into a large bowl. Add the vanilla bean paste.
  • Whip the cream until it is thick but not stiff.
  • Carefully run a palette knife between the meringue and baking parchment.
  • Place the meringue on to a plate or cake stand.
  • Spoon the whipped cream on to the meringue.
  • Add the figs and blackberries. Finally sprinkle over with pomegranate seeds.
  • Garnish with fresh mint.
FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Baking and filling the Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova

Fill and decorate the Pavlova 1-2 hours prior to serving. So that the blackberries can defrost.

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova

To serve, cut the Pavlova into slices and use a cake knife to transfer to a dessert plate.

The meringue pavlova base can be made a day in advance. Once filled and decorated keep the Pavlova refrigerated and away from strong smells. The Pavlova will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge.

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova you may also like these:

Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova 

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova

Blackberry Nectarine Tart 

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Blackberry Nectarine Tart

Dark Chocolate Drizzle Pear Ginger Pavlova 

FF Winter Fruit Topped Pavlova
Dark Chocolate Drizzle Pear Ginger Pavlova

With a crisp outer shell and marshmallow centre Pavlovas are a delicious dessert. Since they can be filled with many different combinations of fruit they are perfect for using seasonal or frozen fruit. While in this recipe the meringue has a whipped cream filling, see my Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova for an alternative filling. Also all Pavlova recipes here on Feasting is Fun are gluten free (please see individual recipes for recommendations). As a result this dessert is a festive winter feast that more people can enjoy.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens at this festive time, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

 

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Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars

Today I have a real treat for you, my Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars. Packed with freshly grated apple and toasted walnuts these cake bars are full of flavour. A simple cinnamon drizzle adds just the right amount of sweetness, while the sugar nibs add extra crunch. This simple traybake is a treat on the tongue and the senses.

FF Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars
Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars

I adore Autumn. While gales and rain lash down, there are also the bright, golden sunshine filled days. Because of the variations in the weather, some days are perfect for gardening, having a tidy up, and picking fruit and windfalls. Yet when the weather rages I find comfort in the kitchen, baking delicious cakes that make the whole house smell warm and inviting. I am even more content when I can include produce from my own garden, such as the apples used in both the cake bars and photographs.

FF Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars
Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars

Our Apple Trees

Due to the very hot summer we have had this year I wasn’t sure how well our two apple trees would fare. Because of the heat this years apples are sweeter than usual. While both our trees produce eating apples, one usually small, red and sweet, the other red and green, sharper in flavour. Similar to a Granny Smith apple’s flavour. As a result of the summer weather both varieties have a more intense apple flavour and are delicious to eat straight from the tree.

FF Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars
Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars

Since we have plenty of windfalls from the recent storms I have used them in the recipe. If you have access to windfall apples make the most of nature’s opportunity. Either use them to make these cake bars or perhaps my Apple Pie? Finally, a quick note, if you like puddings, then I should mention that this cake is delicious served with hot custard!

Recipe: Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars make 16

300g/10.5oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

300g/10.5oz Soft Light Brown Sugar

1/2tsp Sea Salt

4 Large Free Range Eggs

2tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey 

375g/13oz Plain White Flour

4tsp Ground Cinnamon

1tsp Ground Ginger

3tsp Baking Powder

200g/7oz Chopped Walnuts

350g/12oz Grated Apple (peeled and cored)

For the cinnamon drizzle

225g/8oz Icing Sugar (confectioners sugar)

3tsp Ground Cinnamon

2-3 tbsp Cold Water

Optional – Pearl or Nibbed Sugar – I use Dansukker Parlsocker available from Amazon

Method: Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan, 375F, gas mark 5.

For this recipe you will need a 22.5cm x 30cm x 5cm (9” x 12” x 2”) tin lined with baking parchment.

Making and baking the cake:

  • First of all add the butter, soft, light brown sugar and salt to a large bowl. Due to the quantity of ingredients I found a wide bowl easier to use.
  • Beat the sugar and butter together until creamy with no visible lumps.
  • Add the 4 eggs, 75g/3oz of flour and the spices to the bowl. Whisk everything together until fully combined.
  • Sieve the remaining flour and baking powder into the bowl and added the chopped walnuts.
  • Because some apples turn brown quickly once cut or grated I add them last.
  • Finally fold all of the ingredients together until they are just combined.
FF Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars
Making the cake batter.
  • Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tin and ensure the batter is even and the top is smooth.
  • Place the cake tin into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes.
  • The cake is baked when it is golden in colour and firm (with only a little give) to touch in the centre.
  • As soon as the cake is baked remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin.
FF Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars
Filling the tin and baking the cake.

Portioning and decorating the cake bars:

  • Add the icing sugar and cinnamon to a large jug. Using a balloon whisk, stir the two powders to combine and break up any lumps.
  • Pour 2 tablespoons of cold tap water into the jug and stir using the whisk. Add more water as needed until a thick, not runny consistency is achieved.
  • Decant the cinnamon icing into a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle. Alternatively use a plastic sandwich bag and just prior to decorating cut a very small hole in one corner, this also applies to disposable piping bags.
  • To prepare the cake for decorating first of all cut across the width of the cake, dividing it in half. Now cut from top to bottom in the middle of the cake creating 4 quarters. Cut each quarter into 4 bars from top to bottom.
  • While you can decorate the cake as a whole, I like to see the drizzle of icing on each cake bar.
  • Separate the bars and place on to a cooling rack over a baking tray, to catch any drips.
FF Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars
Preparing the cake bars for decorating
  • Using gentle, steady pressure pipe diagonally across each cake bar. Continue piping until each bar is iced.
  • Sprinkle some sugar nibs over each bar while the icing is still wet.
  • Place to one side to allow the icing to set.
FF Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars
Decorating the Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars

Finally take a photo of your creation! Because your house will smell amazing and these cake bars will not last long.

FF Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars
Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars

Store the bars in an airtight container. They will keep for 5 days. Refrigerate during warmer weather.

The cake can be made a day in advance and decorated the following day.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars you may also like these:

Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe 

FF Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars
Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe

Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake 

FF Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars
Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake

Autumn Apple Almond Cake

FF Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars
Autumn Apple Almond Cake a gluten free bake

Traybakes are made for sharing:

With Bonfire Night, November 5th not far away these cake bars are perfect for sharing. Whether you are going to an organised event, holding a bonfire party in your back garden, or simply watching from your window, everything about these cake bars will elicit oohs and aahs! Because they are so yummy, they deserve to be made and enjoyed all year round.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy for details.

FF Cinnamon Drizzle Apple Walnut Cake Bars

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Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe

September is here and after the long, hot summer I am ready for Autumn. While walking around the garden this morning I noticed some ripe blackberries on my thornless plant. Although, to be clear, I should mention That I’d forgotten to put my glasses on. Expecting a great harvest I hurried back to the kitchen to collect a modest size bowl. Also I grabbed my glasses. Five ripe blackberries. Five! So, consoling myself I plundered our freezer, where fortunately I had a stash. Finally I can now share my Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe.

FF Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe

While I find it very satisfying to use produce picked from our garden I am also a realist. Because of the very hot and dry summer some of our fruiting plants have suffered. While our cherry tree had a bumper crop this year, we haven’t any plums and as I mentioned the blackberries are small and scant. Although I am hopeful for a reasonable apple harvest. Even if they are a little smaller this year, I’m sure they will be sweet.

FF Easy Blackberry Oat Muffins Recipe
Easy Blackberry Oat Muffins Recipe

I am glad that I had the foresight to buy punnets of British blackberries and freeze them. Especially as most berries freeze well, with the exception of strawberries. While strawberries defrost to a mushy mess, frozen blackberries, raspberries, red and blackcurrants can be used in place of fresh fruit when it is out of season. Whether you buy and freeze the fruit yourself or buy it ready frozen, it means that we need not be denied luscious berries in the depths of winter.

 

FF Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe
Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe

Recipe: Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe

100g/4oz Unsalted Butter – melted

200ml/6.5fl oz Whole Milk

2 Large Free Range Eggs

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey 

250g/9oz Plain White Flour

50g/2oz Rolled Oats (Porridge Oats – not quick cook)

2tsp Baking Powder

100g/4oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Sea Salt

300g/10.5oz Blackberries – fresh or frozen Waitrose sell frozen British fruits all year round – the berries can be used frozen

Method: Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, 400F, gas mark 6

Making the muffin batter:

  • First of all into a large bowl add the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Usng a balloon whisk mix all of the dry ingredients together – dry mix.
  • Hold back 12 blackberries for topping the muffins and tip the remaining blackberries into the dry mix. Gently cover with the flour mixture to coat.
FF Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe
The dry part of the muffin mix.
  • Into a separate jug measure out the milk.
  • Add the eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract and beat with a fork to combine – wet mix.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry mix and pour the wet mix in.
  • Stir the mixture (approximately 10 times) with a spoon to almost combine, taking care not to break up the berries.
  • A few flour streaks are acceptable. Over mixing will almost certainly result in tough muffins.
  • Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Alternatively tulip style muffin wrappers used in my Spiced Pumpkin Walnut Muffins also can be used.
  • Use an ice cream scoop to divide the muffin mixture evenly between the 12 cases.
FF Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe
Combining the wet and dry to make the batter.
  • Place a blackberry (from those held back) on top of each muffin.
  • Finally, using a teaspoon, tap a light dusting of caster sugar on top of each muffin.
  • Place the muffin tin into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
FF Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe
Topping the muffins before baking.
  • The muffins are baked when risen, golden and firm to touch.
  • As soon as the muffins are baked remove from the oven.
  • Immediately remove the muffins from the tin and place on to a cooling rack – take care as the muffins will be hot.

 

FF Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe
Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe
  • Allow the muffins to cool slightly before serving.
FF Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe
Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe

 

If you have enjoyed my Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe you may also like these:

Blueberry And Lemon Muffins 

FF Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe
Blueberry And Lemon Muffins

Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins 

FF Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe
Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins

Chocolate Madness Muffins 

FF Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe
Chocolate Madness Muffins

Freshly baked muffins are best eaten on the day they are made. Although you can store them in an airtight container for up to two days, refrigerate in warm weather and then refresh in a medium oven for 5 minutes. Especially delicious eats to start the day and also fill hunger gaps throughout the day. Since these muffins truly are delicious served warm from the oven, why not bake them with the intention to share. Neighbours, friends and family are always delighted with a surprise delivery of freshly made muffins. And it is a fact that food always tastes better when shared!

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws

Although there are plenty of sweet recipies here on the blog, I personally have a preference for food that is more savoury. Following a meal I am far more likely to go for the cheese board than a dessert. While my family will pick a delicious, sweet treat. Also, at parties I much prefer something salty and savoury over their sweet counterparts. My Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws tick all of my preferred flavour boxes. So much so that I ate three as soon as they were cool enough!

 

FF Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws
Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws

I have deliberately made this recipe not only easy, they can also be made ahead and kept refrigerated or even frozen. Since party food tends to involve lots of little morsels I wanted to take out the stress and leave more room for fun. Because that’s what a party should be. Whether it’s drinks with friends or a full on family bash, these straws are a perfect addition to the occasion.

FF Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws
Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws

So incredibly easy to make and bake, these straws are filled with grated cheddar and fresh basil. Followed by a strip of Prosciutto ham that is twisted with the cut straw and then baked. While baking the Prosciutto becomes crisp and salty on the outside with melting cheddar and fresh Basil inside. The hardest part of making these is not eating them all as soon as they are baked!

FF Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws
Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws

 

Recipe: Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws – makes 24

2 x 250g/14oz All Butter Puff Pastry – I use Waitrose own brand. Alternatively use ready rolled pastry, however you may need to adjust the cheese/basil/prosciutto quantities.

100g/4oz Finely Grated Mature (Sharp) Cheddar Cheese – I use Wyke Farms

A Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves – approximately 20 leaves. Alternatively when Basil is unavailable use 1tsp finely chopped thyme or rosemary

12 Slices Prosciutto Ham

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method: preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, 400F, gas mark 6

Making and baking the straws:

  • First of all line 2 large baking trays with baking parchment.
  • Roll the first block of puff pastry into a square, approximately 30cm x 30cm (12in x 12in).
  • Sprinkle half the grated cheddar over the top half of the square.
  • Place half of the fresh basil leaves on top of the cheese.
  • Add some freshly ground black pepper.
  • Fold the bottom half of the pastry up over the cheese and basil.
FF Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws
Filling the pastry with cheese and basil.
  • Using a rolling pin roll the pastry so that it flattens and becomes smooth.
  • Divide the pastry in half using a sharp knife. Then cut each half in half again, you will have four separate pieces.
  • Cut each quarter into 3 strips. Resulting in 12 straws.
  • Tear a piece of prosciutto ham in two lengthways.
  • Place the ham on top of a straw and press at both ends so it sticks.
  • Using both hands twist the pastry so that the prosciutto wraps around.
  • Place the twisted pastry on to a baking sheet.
  • Repeat with the rest of the straws.
  • Roll out the second block of pastry and repeat the process again.
FF Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws
Cutting the straws and wrapping with Prosciutto.
  • Place the baking trays into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden and the prosciutto is crisp.
  • As soon as the straws are baked remove from the oven.
  • Note – if you are planning to freeze the straws, remove from the oven 5 minutes early when the straws are baked but have not much colour.
FF Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws
Baking the Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws
  • Allow the straws to cool slightly before serving.
FF Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws
Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws

Cool, place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze. Reheat in a medium oven for 5-10 minutes.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws you may also like these:

Mini Sparkenhoe Red Leicester Tarts

FF Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws
Mini Sparkenhoe Red Leicester Tarts

Spicy Sausage Rolls

FF Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws
Spicy Sausage Rolls

Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche 

FF Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws
Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche

I love parties, whether I’m hosting one myself or going out. Likewise I appreciate recipes that are easy and travel well. These Prosciutto Wrapped Cheese Puff Pastry Straws are perfect for taking to a party or get together. Also, as they can be frozen I am planning on making a big batch prior to Christmas. 10 minutes baking from frozen and I have an instant snack and drinks accompaniment for when friends and family pop round unexpectedly!

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake

After being approached by Maha Home to create a cake using the new Innovative Range by Mason Cash that they stock, I was beyond excited. I can remember every single adult female in our family owning the iconic, beige coloured, cane bowl by the same manufacturer. Yet with this new range I was in for a double treat (I’ll explain more later). I chose to create this gluten free Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake.

FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake

As a result of my health issues, I rely heavily on the ability to order items online. Having had mixed results from the different companies I order from I have learned who I can trust to properly package and ship things within an acceptable time frame. With Maha Home I placed my order and it arrived the following day. Every item was securely wrapped, without there being an excess of packaging. Most importantly every single item, when unwrapped, was in perfect condition. Because of the careful packaging, lowest price match promise and prompt delivery I would happily order from them in future.

 

FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Package delivery from Maha Home

I will admit that it did take some time to complete the unwrapping!

I tested and used all of the items except the reamer and jar scraper while making the Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake.

FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Mason Cash Innovative Kitchen items from Maha Home

Note: please visit the Mason Cash website for specific care and use of items listed.

My thoughts on the Innovative Kitchen Kit

I love the size of this bowl and it is beautiful to look at. It’s wide enough to get my hands in, for making bread, pastry and crumble. Using the tilt feature allows for thorough mixing. Also I would use this as a serving bowl, for example my Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad. While the bowl itself isn’t too heavy, once ingredients are added I would struggle to be able to lift this and mix in the crook of my arm. That said this bowl would make a perfect new home/wedding/birthday present for a newbie or keen baker.

Possibly my favourite item! Although this may seem odd, as someone who frequently uses an electric whisk that always drips on to the worktop having this spoon rest is an absolute joy. Large enough to rest both beaters from my whisk, or the large solid spoon and the balloon whisk from the range, this has saved me a substantial amount of clean-up time.

Absolutely the cutest item in the range. A really useful size jug with accurate measurements inside. For that reason it was particularly useful when creating the Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake. Especially easy to use in the microwave and the colours match my kitchen perfectly.

Such a comfortable balloon whisk to hold and use. I wasn’t sure at first how useful the reamer would be, however after making a batch of Homemade Chelsea Buns, with a lemon drizzle I found myself happily using both the reamer and whisk. Brilliant invention.

Fantastic large spatula at one end with a smaller spatula at the other end. Any worries I had about how comfortable it would be to hold were immediately dispelled on first use. Two for one usage, saving utensil room in the kitchen.

A strong solid spoon that is comfortable to hold and use. I see a wooden spoon as one of THE most essential items in any kitchen, this spoon fits the bill and some! No longer do I have to sniff my range of wooden spoons when baking, to check for lingering curry/garlic smells. I now have a dedicated wooden spoon for baking, that also has a very handy jar scraper at the other end. Especially useful for honey and marmite, both particularly sticky and reluctant to leave the inside of a jar. Again double usage from one utensil.

FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake

Recipe: Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake serves 10-12

For the cake sponges

225g + 112g/8oz + 4oz (337g/12oz) Unsalted Butter at room temperature – plus extra for greasing the cake tins

225g + 112g/8oz + 4oz (337g/12oz) Caster Sugar

1/4tsp + 1/8tsp Salt (3/8tsp)

2tsp + 1tsp Vanilla Extract (3tsp) – I use Nielsen-Massey 

4 + 2 (6) Large Free Range Eggs

225g + 112g/8oz + 4oz (337g/12oz) Gluten Free Plain White Flour – I use Doves Farm alternatively use regular white wheat flour

2tsp + 1tsp Baking Powder (3tsp)  – I use Waitrose as it is gluten free

Filling and decorating the cake

6tbsp Good Quality Apricot Jam

2 x 240g (drained) Canned Apricot Halves

4 Fresh Apricots – if not in season there will be enough left to decorate from the canned apricots

For the white chocolate ganache

600g/1lb 5oz Good Quality White Chocolate

600ml/21fl oz Double (heavy) Cream

For the dark chocolate curls

109g/4oz Good Quality Dark Chocolate – minimum 70% Cocoa Solids

100g/4oz Unsalted Butter – cut into chunks

Method: preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, 350F, gas mark 4

For this recipe

Note – you will need 3 x 20cm/8in round sandwich tins for this recipe. If, like me however, you only have 2, simply follow the first set of quantities given in the recipe. Make 2 cake sponges using the first quantity given in the recipe and bake. Once the cakes are turned out, wash up one sandwich tin and proceed to make the third cake using the second quantity given in the recipe. Alternatively if you have 3 cake tins make the cake batter using the full quality given (shown in brackets in bold), dividing the mixture equally between the three sandwich tins.

Making the sponge cakes

  • First of all grease with butter and line the sandwich tins with baking parchment.
  • Next crack the eggs into the jug and whisk to combine.
  • Add the butter, sugar and salt to the large bowl and whisk together until pale and creamy.
  • Pour the eggs into the large bowl and add the vanilla extract.
FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Beating the cream and sugar, whisking the eggs.
  • Sieve the flour and baking powder into the bowl.
  • Using a large wooden spoon mix the ingredients together until just combined. Over mixing when using wheat flour can lead to a heavy cake.
  • Divide the cake batter evenly between the sandwich tins, using the spatula to scrape the bowl clean. Ensuring nothing is wasted.
  • Smooth the top of the cakes with the spatula.
FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Adding the dry ingredients, mixing and filling the cake tins.
  • Place the cake tins into the centre and lower part of the preheated oven.
  • Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes.
  • The cakes are baked when golden and they spring back from a light touch in the centre.
  • As soon as the cakes are baked remove from the oven.
  • Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 15 minutes and then turn out on to a cooling rack.
  • Proceed with making the third sponge as per the note above.
FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Baking the three separate cake sponges

Making the dark chocolate curls

  • Chop the dark chocolate into small chunks.
  • Place the chocolate into the jug and add the butter.
  • Using a microwave heat the chocolate/butter for 30 seconds on medium power. Repeat until both chocolate and butter are melted.
  • Stir using the small spatula until the ingredients are combined and glossy.
FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Making the dark chocolate ganache
  • Pour the dark chocolate ganache into a baking tray approximately 38cm x 25cm x 3cm (15in x 10in x 1in).
  • Tilt the tray so that it is evenly covered with ganache.
  • Refrigerate the tray for 1 hour to set the ganache.
  • To make the curls, push a straight edged implement (I have used a small metal cake server, a dough cutter or something similar would also work well) into the ganache. The chocolate will form curls. Place each curl on to a cold plate. Repeat until all of the chocolate has been used. During hot weather it maybe necessary to chill the chocolate ganache in between making curls.
  • Once made, place the plate of chocolate curls into the fridge until needed. Note, the dark chocolate curls can be made the day before, Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Making the dark chocolate curls

Making the white chocolate ganache

  • Measure out the cream into the jug.
  • Heat in the microwave on medium for 30 second bursts until the cream is hot – not boiling.
  • While the cream is heating chop the white chocolate into small chunks and place into the large bowl.
  • Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate chunks.
  • Stir continuously with the spoon until all of the chocolate is melted and combined with the cream. The mixture should look glossy.
FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Making the white chocolate ganache
  • Pour 300ml of the liquid white chocolate ganache into the jug.
  • Place the large bowl of ganache into the fridge to cool.
  • Meanwhile, using the whisk, whip the white chocolate ganache in the jug until it just holds it’s shape (see bottom left photo below).
  • Place a cake sponge, flat side down, on to some foil on a plate.
  • Spoon the soft, yet floppy ganache on to the sponge. Spread the ganache with the small spatula to cover the sponge allowing it to naturally drape around the sides.
  • Place the sponge into the fridge to set.
FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Covering the top sponge of the cake with whipped white chocolate ganache

Assembling the Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake

  • First of all, drain both cans of apricot halves into a sieve.
  • Place the remaining 2 cake sponges, flat side up, on separate plates. Make sure the sponge that will be the bottom layer of the cake is on a serving plate or board.
  • Spoon 3 tablespoons of apricot jam on to each sponge and spread to the edges using the small spatula.
  • Place 8 apricot halves evenly around the outside of each sponge and 4 in the centre.
FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Adding the apricot jam and apricots
  • Remove the cooled ganache from the fridge and whisk until it firmly holds its shape.
  • Fill a large piping bag with the ganache.
  • Cut the end of the piping bag off to leave a 1cm opening.
  • Applying even pressure pipe swirls of ganache between the apricots on the edge of the cake working in towards the centre, until there aren’t any gaps left. Repeat for the second sponge.
  • Place both sponges into the fridge and leave to set for 30 minutes.
  • Once the ganache has set it is time to assemble your cake.
  • Place the second layer centrally on top of the bottom layer.
  • Finally, place the ganache covered sponge on top.
FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Piping whipped ganache and assembling the cake
  • Arrange the fresh (or canned) apricots on top of the cake and add the dark chocolate curls.
  • Refrigerate the cake for a further 30 minutes, or until time to serve.
FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
  • Remove the cake from the fridge 10 minutes prior to serving. Doing so allows for easier slicing.
FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake

I made the gluten free sponges the day before assembling the cake. They were stored in an airtight cake tin separated by sheets of baking parchment.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake you may also like these:

Summer Mixed Berry Sponge Cake

FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Summer Mixed Berry Sponge Cake

Raspberry Lemon Celebration Layer Cake 

FF Apricot White Chocolate Celebration Layer Cake
Raspberry Lemon Celebration Layer Cake

Fluted Chocolate Lemon Marble Cake 

FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Fluted Chocolate Lemon Marble Cake

 

While making this Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake I had great fun testing out the Mason Cash Innovative Kitchen items sent to me by Maha Home. As well as creating a feast, fun has to be at the heart of what I do. Likewise, by testing new kitchenware I learn what works and what doesn’t. As a result I can offer an unbiased opinion to you my readers. Your trust in me is central to any review I undertake. Resulting in a review that is open and honest.

Promotional discount:

FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake

In the photograph above I added edible Pansies to create a pop of colour. When using flowers to decorate a cake, ensure they are edible and free from any chemicals.

Maha Home have given readers of my blog a 5% discount on all Mason Cash Innovative Kitchen items. Please insert the code INNOVATIVEFEASTING5. 

This offer is valid until 30th September 2018.

NOTE: This offer has now ended.

Sammie xx

Maha Home sent me the Innovative Kitchen items by Mason Cash for the purpose of reviewing. Please visit their website for lowest price match promise and discount code T’s & C’s. All opinions, views and content are my own. I was not paid to carry out this review. No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

FF Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake
Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake

 

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Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies

I, as some of you may know, am a self confessed Cookie Monster. Since early childhood starting the day with a cup of tea and a biscuit has become a tradition. Something I have passed on to our children as well. As long as I’ve had my cuppa and biscuit/cookie I can face the day. Especially if I have to wait a while for breakfast. Oat and fruit cookies are among my favourites, obviously the children always prefer chocolate. Yet, after tasting these Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies there were smiles all round and they received a big thumbs up.

FF Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies

Since I discovered these baked strawberries from Urban Fruit I have loved adding them to bakes, such as my Double Strawberry Almond Muffins. Similar in texture to dried apricots, the baked strawberries are little pods of intense strawberry flavour. As well as being a delicious snack they are perfect for adding to bakes. Because fresh strawberries are so full of water they can be difficult to add to dry bakes. Whereas the chewy texture of the baked strawberries contrasts well in the oat crumble cookie.

FF Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies
Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies

While I have used the snack pack strawberries from Urban Fruit I have also checked online and found similar products available to buy from both high street stores and online. I find it quite frustrating when wanting to try a recipe and it requires a specialist ingredient. Actually I bulk bought these baked strawberries from Amazon. 

 

FF Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies
Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies

 

Recipe: Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies makes approximately 20

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

150g/5oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Sea Salt (halve if using table salt)

1 Large Free Range Egg Yolk

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey 

100g/4oz Rolled Oats – not quick cook

175g/6oz Plain White Flour

90g/4oz Baked Strawberries – I use 1 packet from Urban Fruit

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, 325F, gas mark 3

Making the cookie dough

  • First of all line 2 large baking trays with baking parchment.
  • Into a large bowl add the butter, sugar and salt. Whisk together until pale and creamy.
  • Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Continue whisking until fully incorporated.
  • Next add the rolled oats.
  • Using a sharp knife chop the baked strawberries in half.
  • Add half of both the flour and strawberries to the bowl. Toss the strawberries around in the flour, this will stop them sticking together. Add the remaining flour and strawberries and repeat as before.
FF Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies
Making the strawberry and oat cookie dough
  • Using a spoon mix the cookie dough together.
  • Place the cookie in the fridge for half an hour to chill and firm up.

Shaping the cookies

  • Remove a heaped teaspoon of cookie dough and roll into a ball. Place on the baking tray. Repeat until both baking trays are full.
  • Gently press down with your fingers to flatten the dough ball.
  • Note – I placed 8 cookies on each baking tray. After baking and cooling I flipped over the baking parchment, added the remaining 5 cookies and baked them.
FF Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies
Shaping the cookies

Baking the cookies

  • Place the baking trays into the oven and bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  • As soon as the cookies are baked remove from the oven.
  • Leave to cool for 5 minutes on the tray and then transfer to a cooling rack.
  • Check the underside of the cookie is golden.
FF Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies
The baked cookies.

Leave the cookies to cool before serving.

FF Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies
Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies

Who could resist a delicious crumbly, strawberry and oat cookie with a cup of tea? Not me!

Once cooled store the cookies in an airtight container and eat within 5 days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies you may also like these:

Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies 

FF Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies
Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Cherry Bakewell Cookies 

FF Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies
Cherry Bakewell Cookies

Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies 

FF Strawberry Oat Crumble Cookies
Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love baking cookies, especially to share with others. And while it would be a real stretch to call these cookies healthy, sneaking oats into the recipe does add extra goodness. Also, the oats give these cookies their delicious crumbly texture. The perfect cookie to bake and take to your workplace and share with colleagues. Because all food tastes better when shared.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Phew this Summer has been hot, hot, hot so far. And for me that means super easy dinners that can be prepared early in the day before the heat builds. Also, as a family we are wanting cool meals in the evening. Especially meals that don’t leave a lot of washing up! Because everyone is just too hot and tired. So I created this recipe for Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad. Not only does it taste good, the bulk of washing up is done earlier in the day.

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Since receiving a jar of Garlic Mayonnaise from Kentish Oils I wanted to use it almost as a sauce for a pasta dish. While sunny, daily temperatures are in excess of 30C  I decided on a cold pasta dish. Although the mayonnaise has garlic in it, it is not an overwhelming, raw, hot garlic flavour. Also it blends beautifully with the lemon chicken and crunchy vegetables in this dish.

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad 

Because the chicken is baked in lemon juice it has a juicy, light lemon flavour. Also, when serving this dish I added very thinly sliced lemons. They are tangy to eat and add an extra punch to this cool, Summer meal. Likewise, an additional teaspoon of the garlic mayonnaise on top of the plated salad gives a tasty finishing touch.

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Recipe: Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad serves 6

450g/1lb – Four Chicken Breasts skin and bone removed

3-4 Whole Lemons – washed and dried

2 Sweetcorn Cobs – approximately 275g/10oz or the equivalent tinned sweetcorn – drained

450g/1lb Pasta – I use rigatoni

8 Spring Onions (scallions)

2 Red Bell Peppers

2 Sticks of Celery

125g/4.5oz – approximately 5 tablespoons of Garlic Mayonnaise (plus extra to garnish) – I use Kentish Oils alternatively use the equivalent amount of mayonnaise and add one clove of minced/crushed garlic

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, 325F, gas mark 3.

Preparing the chicken

  • First of all, place the chicken breasts in an ovenproof dish. Season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and the juice from two whole lemons.
  • Cover the dish with aluminium foil and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes.

Cooking the pasta and preparing the vegetables

  • While the chicken is cooking place a large pan of water on a high heat. As soon as the water is boiling add 1 teaspoon of sea salt and then add the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
  • Chop the spring onions, red peppers and celery to about the same size and place in a large bowl. If using tinned sweetcorn add it to the bowl.
  • Stand a sweetcorn cob on one end and carefully cut down between the husk and the corn. Turn the cob and repeat until all of the corn is removed. Repeat for the second cob.
  • 3 minutes before the pasta has finished cooking add the fresh sweetcorn to the pan.
  • Once cooked drain the pasta and sweetcorn.
FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Preparing the vegetables and pasta.

Assembling the salad

  • After 45 minutes check that the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Cut through the thickest part of the biggest chicken breast, there should not be any pink colour, this shows the chicken is cooked. If there is even a hint of pink return the chicken to the oven for a further 10 minutes and check again.
  • As soon as the chicken is cooked remove from the oven and place the chicken breasts on a plate for 10 minutes to rest.
  • Cut the chicken into slices.
  • Add the cooked pasta and sweetcorn to the bowl and the add the garlic mayonnaise. Mix using a large spoon.
  • Now add the sliced chicken to the bowl and mix again.
  • Taste and check for seasoning, adjust if needed.
FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Assembling the Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

The finished Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad.

Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate until ready to eat. This dish tastes best when it is fridge cold.

Serve the salad with very thin slices of lemon, extra wedges of lemon to squeeze over and a drizzle of garlic mayonnaise.

Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Keep any leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container and eat within two days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad you may also like these:

Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad 

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad

Chicken Pasta Pesto Salad

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Chicken Pasta Pesto Salad

Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo 

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

I love the versatility of pasta and it is one of my favourite staples to have in the kitchen. Since all I need are a few crunchy vegetables and this yummy garlic mayonnaise I am set now for the heatwave! Because we all need a stash of easy, light, quick recipes for when we are busy and especially when the weather is hot. Now is not the time for slow cooked casseroles! I say cool, quick and easy saves the day.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

Kentish Oils sent me the Garlic Mayonnaise to try. All opinions and views are my own and this is NOT a sponsored post.

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