Bakewell Cupcakes

Hello people, do I have the perfect picnic Cupcake for you to make and enjoy this sunny day here in the UK today – I think so? Let me introduce these delicious Bakewell Cupcakes. All the yumminess of Bakewell Tart in Cupcake form.

Bakewell Cupcakes, best eaten outside in the sunshine!
Bakewell Cupcakes, best eaten outside in the sunshine!

 

Now I love Bakewell Tart, the raspberry jam layer, enveloped in an Almond sponge or frangipane, so I set about turning one of my favourite tarts into a cupcake. Hence the Bakewell Cupcake was born.

Bakewell Cupcakes, perfect for a picnic in the park.
Bakewell Cupcakes, perfect for a picnic in the park.

 

You have to admit, these cupcakes even look cheerful  – maybe it’s the bright red cherry on top of the Almond glaze?  When you bite into these Bakewell Cupcakes your mouth is filled with an assortment of tastes and textures! The hidden Raspberry jam and Almond flakes in the centre are a wonderful surprise!

Bakewell Cupcakes - pretty and delicious!
Bakewell Cupcakes – pretty and delicious!

 

The use of flaked Almonds in the centre is two-fold, firstly they provided a delightful crunch, secondly they stop the Raspberry jam from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake. So when you bite through the glorious Almond glaze into the moist cupcake sponge, your mouth is then filled with tart Raspberry Jam and crunchy Almond flakes. The perfect cupcake balance!

Bakewell Cupcakes - with Raspberry Jam and Flaked Almond centre.
Bakewell Cupcakes – with Raspberry Jam and Flaked Almond centre.

 

Now enough of me telling you how scrummy these are, let’s get on with how to make them!!

Recipe :  Bakewell Cupcakes makes 18

18 Cupcake Cases

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – at room temperature

225g/8oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Salt

4 Large Eggs – pref free range

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/2tsp Almond Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey 

225g/8oz Self Raising White Flour

1/2 Jar Raspberry Jam

175g/6oz Flaked Almonds

For the topping:

400g/14oz Icing Sugar

1/2tsp Almond Extract

18 Red Glace Cherries

Method :

Preheat Oven to 180C/160C (fan).

First of all line the muffin tins with the cupcake cases.

Add the butter, sugar and salt to a large bowl.

Whisk together until light and fluffy. Then add the Vanilla and Almond Extract. Whisk to combine.
Whisk together until light and fluffy. Then add the Vanilla and Almond Extract. Whisk to combine.
Add half the flour and 2 eggs, whisk together to combine.
Add half the flour and 2 eggs, whisk together to combine.

Add the remaining flour and eggs, whisk until combined.

Light, fluffy, Almond flavoured cake batter.
Light, fluffy, Almond flavoured cake batter.
Place approx 1 teaspoonful of the batter into the bottom of each cupcake case.
Place approx 1 teaspoonful of the batter into the bottom of each cupcake case.
I used the end of a desert spoon as it was easier! Continue until each case has cake batter in the bottom.
I used the end of a desert spoon as it was easier! Continue until each case has cake batter in the bottom.
Add a good pinch of flaked Almonds to each case, pressing the cake batter flat as you add them.
Add a good pinch of flaked Almonds to each case, pressing the cake batter flat as you add them.
Place 1/2 a teaspoon of raspberry jam on top of the Almonds.
Place 1/2 a teaspoon of raspberry jam on top of the Almonds.
When the jam has been added then place a heaped teaspoon of cake better on top.
When the jam has been added then place a heaped teaspoon of cake better on top.
The batter will naturally spread out during the cooking process, sealing in the hidden jam centre!
The batter will naturally spread out during the cooking process, sealing in the hidden jam centre!

 

Place the Bakewell Cupcakes into a preheated oven and bake for 15-20 mins, until the top is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Allow to cool completely before icing.
Allow to cool completely before icing.

 

To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add 1/2tsp of Almond Extract and enough water to make a thick, fluid icing. It should be able to hold a figure of eight.

Almond flavour glaze that's just the right consistency.
Almond flavour glaze that’s just the right consistency.
Use a teaspoon to cover the top of the cupcakes with the icing.
Use a teaspoon to cover the top of the cupcakes with the icing.
Now pop a cherry on top and leave to set for a couple of hours - if you can wait that long??
Now pop a cherry on top and leave to set for a couple of hours – if you can wait that long??

 

Bakewell Cupcakes are not only pretty and delicious, they also make perfect, portable, picnic food. They are ideal for sharing with friends, family or someone you know, who needs a little pick-me-up!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Bakewell Cupcakes you may also like these:

Iced Bakewell Tart

FF Bakewell Cupcakes
Iced Bakewell Tart

Bakewell Shortbread Bars 

FF Bakewell Cupcakes
Bakewell Shortbread Bars

Cherry Bakewell Cookies 

FF Bakewell Cupcakes
Cherry Bakewell Cookies

 

I hope you try my cupcake version of a traditional Bakewell Tart.

What other deserts can we turn into cupcakes?

Sammie Xx

 

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Strawberries And Cream Cake

Hi, thank you for stopping by to look at this scrumptious Strawberries And Cream Cake! I hope the sight of it puts a smile on your face. Strawberries in Spring remind me of the promise of sunshine, picnics in the park and days at the beach. Ultimately I think that strawberries are a celebration of warmer, sun drenched days, ready to be shared with friends and family.

FF Strawberries And Cream Cake

Since this cake is so easy to make and looks so beautiful, it could easily turn any occasion into a Feast! And I baked it simply because strawberries were on special offer. Because they were so sumptuous they deserved celebrating!

FF Strawberries And Cream Cake
Strawberries And Cream Cake

Sometimes during Summer when it is hot, too hot for cake (yes there is such a thing in my world), Strawberries are eaten just as they are, warm from the sun, or churned into the most delicious ice cream, see my Strawberry Ripple Ice Cream. While cooler days allow for the indulgence of cake – and vanilla whipped cream – and Strawberries.

Recipe : Strawberries And Cream Cake serves 8

For the cake:

225g/8oz Caster Sugar

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – room temperature (plus a little extra for greasing the tins)

4 Large Free Range Eggs

1/4tsp Salt

225g/8oz Self Raising White Flour – alternatively use the same quantity of Plain White Flour plus 2tsp baking powder

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

For the filling:

450g/1lb Strawberries – hulled and sliced, save 1 pretty strawberry for the top

400ml/3/4 pint Double Cream

1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – alternatively use vanilla extract

1 tbsp Sugar

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

While I have used the ‘All in one’ technique for this cake, which usually involves placing all of the ingredients into a bowl and whisking, I have added an extra step.

Making and baking the sponge cakes

  • First of all grease 2 x 7in (17.5cm) sandwich tins and line the base of each with baking parchment.
  • Next add the butter, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until pale and creamy.
  • Add the vanilla extract and eggs; Note – I always crack eggs into a separate bowl first, any shell is easily removed and one bad egg cannot spoil the cake batter. Also sift the self raising flour (or plain flour and baking powder) into the same bowl.
  • Whisk all of the ingredients together until just combined and smooth. Take care not to overmix the cake batter, as this can result in a heavy sponge.
The All-In-One-Method is a whizz
The All-In-One-Method is a whizz.

 

  • Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 prepared sandwich tins. Smooth the top of the cake batter using the back of a spoon.
Place the tins into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Ready for the oven
  • Place the tins into the centre and lower parts of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • The sponges are baked when they are golden and spring back when lightly pressed in the centre. Also an inserted skewer will come out clean.
  • As soon as the cakes are baked remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in their tins.
  • Turn the cakes out on to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before filling and decorating. Carefully remove the baking parchment.
Cooling cakes, waiting to be transformed....
Cooling cakes, waiting to be transformed….

Filling and decorating the cake

  • As soon as the cakes have cooled they can be filled and decorated.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the cream, sugar and vanilla bean paste until the cream holds it’s shape. Also, take care not to overmix as this can cause the cream to split, essentially you can create butter.
Spread half of the cream onto the bottom cake layer, flat side up.
Bottom half of the cake
  • Place one cake sponge on to a plate or board, flat side up.
  • Spoon half of the whipped cream on to the cake and spread so that it almost comes to the edge.
  • Add a layer of sliced strawberries on to the cream.
Arrange the sliced strawberries over the cream.
Strawberries and cream
  • Now place the other cake on top, flat side facing down.
  • Cover the top with the rest of the cream and decorate with sliced strawberries, placing a whole strawberry in the middle.
FF Strawberries And Cream Cake
Strawberries And Cream Cake

Place the finished cake into the fridge for 1 hour, as this allows the cream to firm up and makes slicing easier.

I serve this cake sliced and placed on my best china, with a cup of tea served in a cup and saucer. You may slice and serve this cake however you wish.

Both cake sponges can be made a day ahead, cool and store in an airtight container, using baking parchment to separate them. Yet the cake is best assembled on the day of eating.

As with all cream cakes they are at their best on the day they are made. Wrap any leftover cake in cling film, alternatively place in an airtight container and store in the fridge. Eat within 2 days of assembling.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Strawberries And Cream Cake you may also like these:

Summer Mixed Berry Sponge Cake 

FF Strawberries And Cream Cake
Summer Mixed Berry Sponge Cake

Strawberry Topped Chocolate Heart Pavlova 

FF Strawberries And Cream Cake
Strawberry Topped Chocolate Heart Pavlova

Double Strawberry Almond Muffins 

FF Strawberries And Cream Cake
Double Strawberry Almond Muffins

 

While I love baking, sharing my finished bakes gives me the most pleasure. Because, for me, seeing the anticipation and finally a happy face as someone enjoys something I’ve made really does give me a buzz inside. Finally, remember,  before slicing into this cake I urge you to take a photo! Because if you look at this cake in the deepest, darkest, depths of an icy winter, it will remind you that sunny days are ahead. Hope is powerful – even if it is in the form of cake!

What’s your favourite food to share?

Sammie x

 

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Extreme Chocolate Cookies

Hi, have I got a treat for you today – Extreme Chocolate Cookies. Also if you love cookies and need a chocolate fix then these babies are definitely for you!

These Extreme Chocolate Cookies - perfect with a cup of tea!
These Extreme Chocolate Cookies – perfect with a cup of tea!

 

I’ve been unwell lately, including a 2 week stay in hospital (I’ll save that for another post). Since having been home for 2-3 weeks now, today was the first day I really had the energy to bake. So, unashamedly I decided to make these Extreme Chocolate Cookies for our gorgeous children and my wonderful hubby, who has taken THE BEST care of me. I really do love that man.

Rows of Extreme Chocolate Cookies. Is there a better sight??
Rows of Extreme Chocolate Cookies. Is there a better sight??

 

I know that I’ve said it before, but baking or cooking for others, especially my family, is one of the ways I like to show my love for them. While chocolate is not my go-to favourite Cookie. Since I favour nutty, fruity, oat cookies. Yet I obviously had to try one of these and they are my favourite chocolate cookies to date!

Extreme Chocolate Cookies - my favourite chocolate cookie ever!!
Extreme Chocolate Cookies – my favourite chocolate cookie ever!!

 

Recipe : Makes 18 Extreme Chocolate Cookies

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter softened

150g/5oz Dark Soft Brown Sugar

1 Large Egg at room temperature

1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

1/4 tsp Sea Salt -I use Maldon

225g/8oz Plain White Flour

50g/2oz Cocoa Powder – I use Callebaut

1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

100g/4oz White Chocolate Chunks

150g/5oz Milk Chocolate Chunks

Method : Preheat oven to 170C/150C fan

Making the cookie dough

  • First of all, in a large bowl add the butter, sugar and salt. Whisk until well combined and fluffy.
Add in the egg and vanilla extract to the whisked butter/sugar.
Add in the egg and vanilla extract to the whisked butter/sugar.
  • Add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk until combined.
  • Next, chop up the white and milk chocolate into chunks.
These chocolate chunks are what make the cookies EXTREME!!!
These chocolate chunks are what make the cookies EXTREME!!!
  • Add the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and chocolate chunks to the bowl.
Once combined these ingredients make Extreme Chocolate Cookies!
Once combined these ingredients make Extreme Chocolate Cookies!
  • Mix all of the ingredients together until just combined.

Shaping and baking the cookies

  • Take approximately a tablespoon of mixture, roll into a ball shape and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Repeat until all the mixture is used.
These cookie dough balls are about to be squished!!!
These cookie dough balls are about to be squished!!!

 

  • Wash your hands, they WILL look like you’ve been making mud pies! Now using your fingers squish the cookie balls, they will still spread a bit whilst cooking.
The finger marks leave a pretty pattern even once baked!
The finger marks leave a pretty pattern even once baked!
  • Finally place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 15-20 mins. I rotated my baking sheets halfway through the cooking process so that the cookies baked evenly. This is fine with cookies NOT cupcakes!
  • As soon as the cookies are baked remove from the oven and allow the Extreme Chocolate Cookies to cool on the trays for 5 mins, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.
Inhale deeply. The smell of baked Extreme Chocolate Cookies is gorgeous!
Inhale deeply. The smell of baked Extreme Chocolate Cookies is gorgeous!

 

While the cookies cooled I sent the children a text (at school – rebel mummy!!!) and put the kettle on for a lovely cuppa!!

Finally I can’t tell you how good it feels knowing I’m getting back to being me. Sooo good.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Extreme Chocolate Cookies you may also like these:

Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies

FF Extreme Chocolate Cookies
Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies

Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

FF Extreme Chocolate Cookies
Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Caramac Caramel Cookies

FF Extreme Chocolate Cookies
Caramac Caramel Cookies

Am I alone? Why do you bake? I’d love to hear what motivates you?

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 replicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw

Hello everyone.  A big shout out to all the Mums and Dads on half-term duty.  I’ve created a deliciously Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw, that all my children love. It’s a really good way of getting fresh veg onto the dinner plate and goodness into us all.  Not only that but this Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw tastes seriously good!

Some may argue – ‘Why should I make my own Coleslaw, when it’s easily available and isn’t expensive?’  Which, if you think about it, it a fair point.  I do, on occasion, buy Coleslaw from the shops aaaand each time I do I regret it!  The Coleslaw is either really gloopy and absolutely smothered in a creamy sauce, or else it seems to contain only cabbage and onion, the latter having a strong, onion, overbearing taste.  I don’t like shop bought Coleslaw!  There I’ve said it!!!

Pretty bamboo fibre bowl with decorative flowers around the outside edge, containing a no cook, easy side dish.
Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw

Now I like onion in my Coleslaw, but I don’t like it to have a nasal clearing, strong, over powering taste.  I’ve sorted this problem.  Firstly I use red onions, which are generally sweeter than white onions, then I slice them thinly and soak them in lemon juice with a sprinkle of salt.  The lemon juice draws out all the acridness from the onions, leaving them sweet and crunchy!

Pretty red onions add a super sweetness to this Coleslaw!
Pretty red onions add a super sweetness to this Coleslaw!

I make a great big bowl of this Coleslaw which we eat alongside fish and potato wedges, fabulous with homemade pizza, great with burgers, or in place of salad with any meal.  Let’s get on with the –

Recipe :  Serves 6 as a main side dish.

1/2  Medium White Cabbage

1  Medium Red Onion

3  Medium Carrots (or 2 large)

1  Lemon

Approx 5 Heaped Tablespoons of Mayonnaise (I use full fat mayo)

Method :

Making The Lemon Mayonnaise For The Coleslaw

First take the lemon, cut in half a squeeze it into a large bowl – feel free to use your favourite citrus juicer!!!

Watch out for any pips!!!
Watch out for any pips!!!

Now cut the red onion in half and slice as thinly as possible into half moons. Break up the onion and add to the lemon juice in the bowl. Sprinkle over the sea salt and mix the onion half moons, breaking them apart as you go, into the lemon juice.

Set aside for 10 minutes whilst you prep the cabbage.
Set aside for 10 minutes whilst you prep the cabbage.

Take half a medium white cabbage and remove the tough core.  Cut the cabbage into 3 sections and finely shred them with a sharp knife.L

Shredded, Crunchy, White Cabbage.
Shredded, Crunchy, White Cabbage.

In the bowl with the onions and lemon juice add 4-5 heaped tablespoons of your favourite mayonnaise.  Mix thoroughly so that the lemon juice becomes incorporated into the Mayo. Add 1/2tsp of freshly ground black pepper.

The onions should now be in a thickish, lump free sauce.
The onions should now be in a thickish, lump free sauce.

Adding The Cabbage And Carrots To The Marinating Onions

The lemon juice thins out the mayo so the resulting sauce is smooth and creamy, but not gloopy, thick and claggy like mayonnaise only Coleslaw sauces.  Put the shredded cabbage on top of the onions and sauce in the bowl.

All we need now are the carrots!!!!
All we need now are the carrots!!!!

Trim off the tops and bottoms of the carrots, peel and then grate in the coarse side of a box grater.

This is gonna be grate!!!!!!!
This is gonna be grate!!!!!!!

Place the grated carrot in the bowl.

"Hi there - you've been Tango-ed!!!"
“Hi there – you’ve been Tango-ed!!!”

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and you have yourself some top notch, Crunchy, Homemade Coleslaw.

I'm not a side dish - I'm the main attraction!!!
I’m not a side dish – I’m the main attraction!!!

If not using straight away, cover in cling film and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.  This coleslaw is at it’s best the day you make it, but will keep for a day in an airtight container.

Put me on a jacket potato and dive in!!!!
Put me on a jacket potato and dive in!!!!

Again this is a fantastically portable dish, that makes it great for feasting with family, friends, work colleagues, in fact ANYONE.  This Coleslaw is ideal for buffets (it’s easy to double/triple/quadruple the quantities. It is so easy, inexpensive, cheaper and way more delicious than the shop bought alternative.  Try this recipe once – feel free to adjust the lemon/mayo ratio – and I bet you’ll think twice before buying shop bought Coleslaw again!

 

Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw - another batch made - we eat this ALL the time!
Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw – another batch made – we eat this ALL the time!
Homemade Crunchy Coleslaw
Homemade Crunchy Coleslaw equally as good made with red cabbage.

Oh and please let me know how you get on, I love to read your comments.

This Crunchy Homemade Coleslaw is the ideal accompaniment to:

Better Than Takeout Pizza

Better Than Takeout Pizza
Better Than Takeout Pizza – crispy edges, chewy dough, gooey melted cheese. Once you’ve made this you’ll never want to order a pizza again! www.feastingisfun.com

Ciabatta Based Pizza

Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza
Homemade Ciabatta Base Pizza.

Until next time happy feasting, sharing and having fun!

Sammie x

 

 

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Leek and Potato Soup

Hi, thanks for stopping bytoday.  I hope you are well?  As for me, I have a rotten sore throat (plus the high temperature etc that go with these horrid virus’). I need soup! Not any old soup, Leek and Potato Soup!  I love this soup, it’s the one thing I can eat when I am feeling unwell and haven’t got an appetite.  When I’m unwell this is what I feast on.

Ooh it's like a hug in a bowl. Yummy x
Ooh it’s like a hug in a bowl. Yummy x Leek and Potato Soup

So I make a big batch of this soup when I’m well, then I freeze it in single portions.  That way if I’m not feeling bril, like today, all I have to do is grab a portion out of the freezer, reheat and eat!

Recipe: Leek and Potato Soup

0.5Kg  Leeks

0.5kg  Potatoes – I’ve used King Edwards, floury potatoes work best in this recipe.

1tsp  Nutmeg – freshly grated

1/2tsp  Sea Salt – I use Maldon

1/2tsp  Black Pepper – freshly ground

1  Vegetable Stock Cube

1  Tbs  Butter – for sautéing leeks

50mls plus a little extra Double Cream

Method :

Place a large, heavy based saucepan on the hob, add the butter and melt on a slow heat.

Trim the top and bottom of the leeks.  Make a slit down the entire length of each leek.  Wash each leek thoroughly under cold water, making sure that any dirt, trapped between the layers, is washed out. (This is best done under a tap of cold running water – or you can chop the leeks, place in a bowl filled with cold water, swish about to dislodge any dirt and drain.)

Chop the leeks into roughly 1/2″ dice.

Add the chopped leeks to the melted butter in the pan.  Then add half of the salt and stir ( the salt will stop the leeks burning).  Sauté the leeks for 5-10 minutes on a medium/low heat until translucent (the dark green parts of the leek won’t change, don’t worry that’s ok!).

Sautéing the green and white parts of the leeks together, gives the finished soup a beautiful, finished colour.
Sautéing the green and white parts of the leeks together, gives the finished soup a beautiful, finished colour.

Whilst the leeks are sautéing peel and chop the potatoes (1″ dice for the potatoes).  Place the prepared potatoes into a bowl and cover with cold water.

Once the leeks are translucent add the potatoes and the water they have been stored in.  Pour over enough recently boiled water, from a kettle, until the potatoes and leeks are completely covered in liquid.

The potatoes added.
The potatoes added.

Turn the heat up and bring to a boil, immediately reduce the heat to a simmer.

Add the stock cube, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Hold back on adding the rest of the salt, stock cubes vary in their saltiness.  Better to add a the salt later, than have an over salted ruined soup!!!

Adding freshly grated nutmeg really enhances the flavour of the soup.
Adding freshly grated nutmeg really enhances the flavour of the soup.

Cook the soup on a gentle simmer for at least an hour.  This slow cooking breaks down the tough fibres found in the dark green tops of the leeks, enhancing not only the colour, but, importantly the flavour of the soup.  I’ve made this soup before leaving it to simmer happily, on a low heat, all morning.  Not only did it taste delicious, the house had a wonderful, welcoming, warm aroma!

When the soup is fully cooked it’s time to blend! There are various ways to do this:  A potato masher can be used to simply ‘mash’ the potatoes and leeks into the liquid.  This will not give the smoothness achieved by using a blender, but creates a wonderful textured soup.

 

An immersion blender is quick and allows you to control the texture of the soup.
An immersion blender is quick and allows you to control the texture of the soup.

I’ve used an immersion blender for my soup.  As can be seen from the photo, make sure you move your pan away from direct heat whilst blending.  The soup is completely blended until super smooth.

Other ways of blending including using a liquidiser or food processor.  I personally would not liquidise the soup until it has cooled.  Whatever you decide, ensure you follow the manufacturers instructions for your appliance.  Just looking out for your safety xx.

When you have your soup at the desired texture, stir in 50mls of double cream.  This makes such a difference.  If you are seriously counting the calories (or are allergic to milk products), check the soup for seasoning and eat as is.  However, I don’t skip the cream stage!!! Once this relatively small amount of cream has been added it enriches the soup, rounds out all of the flavours and takes the soup to a whole other taste experience – basically it’s worth adding the cream!!!!!

It's only 50mls of Double Cream! Go on, you're worth it!!!
It’s only 50mls of Double Cream! Go on, you’re worth it!!!

Then serve yourself up a big bowl, with a little extra swirl of cream, should you desire and enjoy.

Yummy, soothing, smooth, velvety Leek and Potato Soup.
Yummy, soothing, smooth, velvety Leek and Potato Soup.

A warming feast to enjoy in the colder months.  Excellent for soothing sore throats.

This soup freezes very well for up to 3 months.  Pour into single serving, freezer proof plastic containers.  Perfect for sharing if one of your friends or family members fall ill.  Once frozen it is very portable, so a bowlful of homemade soup is just a quick drive away!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Leek And Potato Soup you may also like these:

Warming Winter Vegetable Soup 

FF Leek And Potato Soup
Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup 

FF Leek And Potato Soup
Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup

Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup 

FF Leek And Potato Soup
Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup

 

See even simple easy soup can be shared.

Sammie x

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Victoria Sponge Cake

Victoria Sponge Cake, light, buttery, golden sponges sandwiched together with homemade raspberry jam. A simple recipe that yields a completely knockout cake both in flavour and looks. And as you master this recipe, you will forever be asked to “bring THAT cake” when gathering with friends and family. Because, put simply, this is a cake for feasting.

Jam and cream filled sponge cake on a pretty plate decorated with little roses.

Since a Victoria Sponge Cake is two identical sponge cakes put together with a slather of jam (and whipped cream if desired) in the middle, it is a great starting point for any baking journey. Because there are no complicated decorating techniques, or steps in the method, the finished cake is all about two things. First of all taste; good quality ingredients are key, butter should not be substituted with margarine. Also, texture; a light sponge is a direct result of not over mixing the cake batter.

Sliced cake showing the freshly made jam between the golden sponges.
Victoria Sponge Cake

Raspberry jam lends a sweet, slightly tart, intense fruit flavour against the buttery, vanilla sponge. While a good quality bought jam is fine to use, making fresh jam adds an additional edge. Since it requires very little time to make I really urge you to try it. Finally, with a light touch and using great quality ingredients the finished result is the Queen of all cakes. I say Queen as this cake is named after Queen Victoria herself.

Victoria Sponge Cake

Recipe: Victoria Sponge Cake serves 8-10

2 x 20cm (8in)  greased loose bottom cake tins, the base of each lined with baking parchment.

225g/8oz Caster Sugar plus 1/2 tsp for dusting the finished cake

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – room temp

1/4 tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

4 Large Free Range Eggs  – room temp

225g/8oz Self Raising White Flour or equivalent weight Plain White Flour plus 1.5 tsp baking powder

2 tsp  Vanilla Extract I use – Nielsen-Massey

Fresh Raspberry Jam use 5 tablespoons of good quality jam if not making from scratch

Juice of 1 Lemon approximately 30mls

225g/8oz Fresh or Frozen Raspberries  – I used frozen from  Waitrose

225g/8oz Sugar

Optional – 300ml Whipped Cream (double or heavy cream)

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

Making the cake sponges

  • First of all thoroughly grease with butter, both cake tins and line the base with baking parchment.
  • Place the sugar, butter and salt into a large bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until pale and fluffy – if using a stand mixer use the paddle attachment.
  • Rub a little of the mixture between your fore finger and thumb.  If no grittiness is felt the sugar is well mixed into the butter.
  • Next add the eggs and vanilla extract. Add 1 tablespoon of the flour and whisk together for 30 seconds to combine.
  • Sift the flour (and baking powder if required) into the bowl.
  • Whisk the ingredients together until just combined. Over whisking, or beating will develop the flour’s gluten, resulting in a tough, baked cake.
FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Making the cake batter.
  • Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tins, dividing evenly between the two. If wanted weigh equal quantities of cake batter into the tins.
  • Smooth the top of the batter with a spoon.
FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Prepared cake batter in the tins, ready to be baked.
  • Place the tins into the centre of the oven (centre and lower shelf if they cannot fit on one shelf).
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden in colour. The cakes are baked when the top springs back when lightly pressed.
  • As soon as the cakes are baked remove from the oven and place the tins on a cooling rack.
  • Allow each cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutesbefore turning out, top of the cake uppermost and placing directly on to a cooling rack.
FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Golden sponges cooling.

Making the fresh raspberry jam

While the cakes are cooking make the raspberry jam:

  • Into a large, heavy bottomed saucepan add the lemon juice, raspberries and sugar.
  • Also place 2 small plates or saucers into the fridge to chill.
  • Stir the ingredients together with a wooden spoon and bring up to a simmer on a low heat.
  • As soon as the sugar is dissolved increase the heat to bring the jam up to a rolling boil – bubbling vigorously but not over the sides of the pan.
  • Stir to ensure the jam does not stick. Take care as the jam will be very HOT.
  • After 5 minutes at a rolling boil spoon a few drops of hot jam on to one of the chilled plates. Allow to cool for a minute. Using your finger, push one side of the jam, if it wrinkles up the jam is ready; it has reached setting point. Should the jam not wrinkle continue cooking for a further 2 minutes and test again.
FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Freshly made Raspberry Jam for the Victoria Sponge Cake.
  • As soon as the jam has reached setting point remove the pan from the heat.
  • Pour the very hot jam into a heatproof bowl and set aside to cool.
FF Victoria Sponge Cake
Freshly made raspberry jam.

Assembling the cake

  • To assemble the Victoria Sponge Cake ensure both sponges and the raspberry jam are cold.
  • Carefully peel the baking parchment away from both sponges.
  • Place a sponge, flat side up on to a plate or board.
  • Spoon all of the jam on to the flat sponge and spread almost to the edge. Also, add a layer of whipped cream if desired.
  • Place the second sponge, flat side down, on top of the jam covered bottom sponge.
  • Finish with a light dusting of caster sugar on the top of the cake.
Victoria Sponge Cake filled with freshly made raspberry jam.

Serve this cake sliced with a good quality, fresh made cup of tea. Alternatively a glass of champagne for a special occasion compliments both the event and cake.

Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days. Always refrigerate the cake when adding cream and also during warm weather.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Victoria Sponge Cake with fresh raspberry jam filling you may also like these:

Raspberry and Cream Giant Doughnut

Raspberry And Cream Baked Giant Doughnut with pink drizzle icing a small white sugar ball decorations.
Raspberry And Cream Giant Doughnut

Strawberry Sweetheart Cake

Heart shaped cake covered in piped buttercream roses and decorated with mini edible pink hearts.
Strawberry Sweetheart Cake

Strawberries And Cream Cake

Strawberries And Cream Cake,
Strawberries And Cream Cake

While this cake may be easy to make, learning to master a simple recipe and make it well is the foundation to becoming a great cook and baker. Since cake decorating and presentation are of no importance if the product being served and shared does not taste appealing. And flavour always comes first in any feast. Never more so than when the feast is marking a special occasion. Because, friends and family bring out the flavour even further, as my long held belief shows that food shared always tastes better.

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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Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Bread is something that I really enjoy making. Flour, yeast, salt and water, combined and worked, create a bread with real taste. Add in a few extra flavours and the possibilities are endless. Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread is an incredibly easy, yet packed with flavour bread. Perfect for making at home.

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread.

This week in our house is all about birthdays. Our Lil Man will be 12 this week, it’s also my Sister’s birthday in the same week. Definitely time for Feasting, Celebrating and Fun! Covert baking operations during the day – ready for surprises on their special days. Ooh I love a celebration – well that is as long as I’m not the center of attention!

Fortunately, shyness is not something our son could ever be accused of having. His enthusiasm and passion for life is infectious and wonderful to see. He waits all year for his birthday and the night before, without fail, he reaches ‘ready to explode’ status!Christmas is the same for him, times a gazillion!I adore his passion & zest for life, even if at times it can be exhausting and overwhelming.

So, to make life a bit easier on myself today, I grabbed a previously, made and frozen Chicken and Four Cheese Lasagne  from the freezer last night and left it to defrost in the fridge overnight. Yes, I confess to feeling a tiny little bit smug.
Since I have a bread maker that makes my life (in the world of bread baking), so much easier, I decided to whip up a couple of these GARLIC ROSEMARY FOCACCIA BREAD.  Also, as this is such a reliable and easy recipe, I decided to share it with you.

Even with 4 Garlic bulbs added to the bread mixture & the same sprinkled on top, this Focaccia only has a mild Garlic taste.
Even with 4 Garlic bulbs added to the bread mixture & the same sprinkled on top, this Focaccia only has a mild Garlic taste.

GARLIC ROSEMARY FOCACCIA BREAD: makes 2 loaves.

You will need 2 x lightly oiled 8×8″ square tins ( with at least 2″ depth), or – 1 larger oiled baking tray (2″ deep) to bake one large focaccia.

Recipe: Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread 

1lb Strong Plain White Flour – I use Shipton Mill

300ml Warm (hand hot) Water

1 x 7g Sachet, Easy Blend Yeast

2 tbs Olive Oil (plus extra for drizzling over bread, oiling baking tins & cling film)

7g Sea Salt – I use Maldon

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper for top of the bread

2 tbs Fresh Rosemary – finely chopped

8 Garlic Bulbs (4 for bread mixture, 4 for topping the bread).

Method: Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7

When using a bread maker or stand mixer:

Place the warm water into the pan or bowl of the device you are using, making sure the dough hook is attached to the stand mixer.

Sprinkle over the sachet of dried, activated yeast and swish about with clean fingers to mix.

Next place the flour on top of the liquid mixture. Add the oil and salt.

Now add 1 tbs of the finely chopped Rosemary and salt.

Mince most of the Rosemary finely, allowing a few whole & half leaves to remain so they can be seen in the bread!
Mince most of the Rosemary finely, allowing a few whole & half leaves to remain so they can be seen in the bread!

Add in four minced bulbs of garlic. I’m a very big fan of my garlic press (no peeling or chopping), but you may chop, process, squish with the back of your knife. Please don’t write in with other methods for finely mincing garlic, just be happy that you’re innovative.

Now mix & prove (if using a bread maker). With a stand mixer, attach the dough hook & mix for 8-10 minutes, until the dough has a silky, stretchy, elasticity about it.

If kneading by hand, bring all the ingredients together and work (knead) the dough until you can feel the change, when the dough again stretches easily and feels silky to touch – a good way to check that the dough has been worked enough is that it should be hard to tear.

Shape the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl, then turn the ball over, so the top has an oily layer & cover tightly with cling film. Place in a warm draught free place until doubled in size (about an hour).

Prepare the baking tins (or large tin if only using one) by placing some oil in the tin (approx 1tsp for a smaller tin).  Then using your fingers or a piece of kitchen towel completely cover the inside of the tin with a light slick if oil. When doing this by hand, your nails also benefit from a cuticle treatment.
Talking of fingers, if you have long nails it’s probably easier to apply the oil with the kitchen cloth. It also probably means you look after your hands and nails may not need a quick, olive oil cuticle treatment. Just saying, I NEED the treatment.

If using a bread machine switch on to knead cycle to knock the dough back for a minute. With the dough in the bowl, remove the cling film & gently punch down (enjoy the soft enveloping feeling!)the dough to knock out the air bubbles and gently knead by hand for 2 minutes.

Half the focaccia dough.
Half the focaccia dough.

Divide the dough in two (or leave whole if making a larger Focaccia) using a sharp knife or a dough cutter.
Place half the dough into each tin (or all into one tin).

NOW is the absolutely BEST thing about making this type of bread. If you loved making mud pies when you where younger, or maybe still do, you’re going to LOVE this next bit.
Using your the heel of your hand, gradually press the dough out until it reaches the edges of the tin and is roughly the same thickness across the tin.

Check out my dimples!!!!
Check out my dimples!!!!

Next using your fingers, have great fun making lots & lots & lots of dimples in the dough – to give it the classic focaccia look.
Can you tell how much I really love that part? So much fun!
Drizzle a little olive oil, sprinkle some sea salt flakes, the rest of the finely minced Rosemary, a grinding of pepper and the rest of the garlic. Split over 2 tins if making 2 Focaccia loves.

Lightly oil some cling film:
TOP TIP: Using a clean wet cloth wipe some of your work surface so that it is damp. When laying your cling film over the top it will lay flat and not attempt to attach itself to itself, you, or random kitchen objects. You can then easily spread a light coating of oil over the cling using your hands, or a pastry brush.
I know there’s oil in the dough, the tin has been oiled, you’ve just drizzled oil on top of the focaccia – JUST TRUST ME!

Most of the time you could get away with not oiling the cling, but and it’s happened to me, it WON’T EVER STICK if you oil the cling!

The risen dough does lose some of the dimply effect - so if you want more dimples, repeat the process!!!!
The risen dough does lose some of the dimply effect – so if you want more dimples, repeat the process!!!!

Cover the top of the tin with the oiled cling (so it’s airtight) and leave in a warm, draught free place until doubled in size. Alternatively,  place the dough in the fridge. While it will take longer to rise, the bread will develop a lovely flavour, due to the slow prove. It’s your dough, so, do whatever you fancy.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT TIP – I have successfully risen the dough slowly in the fridge, completely forgotten about it, so it quadruples in size. Knock it back by recreating the dimpled effect, as before, left to rise and it’s turned out fine.
Bake the focaccia in a preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until a golden colour and still quite soft. The base should sound hollow when rapped with a knuckle.

Once baked, remove from the oven, take a deep breath, the smell is intoxicating. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, run round the outside with a palette knife until you can feel the loaf easing from the tin. Turn the bread out and place on to a cooling rack. Repeat with second tin.

Please dunk me in some scrummy soup, pasta sauce or sausage casserole?
Please dunk me in some scrummy soup, pasta sauce or sausage casserole?

The Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread will be marshmallowy soft & is fine to serve warm as is. Or cool, wrap in foil and freeze for up to one month.
If you prefer a slight crust to your focaccia, 10 mins before serving, place the bread directly on to the rack of a preheated oven (as for baking the dough) for 5 – 10 minutes, depending on how crusty you like it.
Because this bread is thinner than a loaf, you can cut or tear the bread whilst still warm.

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread baked as a whole.

This bread goes with any dish you would normally serve garlic bread with. It also goes fantastically well with soup. Spicy vegetable, leek and potato are especially good with this bread. It is ideal for dunking!
One Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread is plenty for our family of five, so I wrap in foil and freeze the other one.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread you may also like these:

Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread.

Easy Crusty Baguettes

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Easy Crusty Baguettes.

Garlic Cheese Bombs

FF Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Garlic Cheese Bombs

I really hope you give this recipe a try. You can vary the herbs. I’ve used Thyme, Oregano and SHOCK/HORROR dried mixed herbs. Ooh I’m such a rebel! But seriously, it works better with the woodier herbs (rather than parsley/fennel) mentioned. Since I find that soft herbs are better mixed with butter and oil, then slathered into a baguette/ciabatta (part bake baguettes work well for this!).
Until next time, I hope you have fun giving this recipe a go and enjoy feasting with whoever you share it with.

See you soon. Sammie xx

No part of this blog post may be replicated without written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Super Easy Shortbread Cookies.

Hello again. I’m really enjoying this blogging lark, I hope you are enjoying my thoughts and recipes too? Please leave a comment if you try any. I’d love to hear how you got on. So today let me bring you my Super Easy Shortbread Cookies.

FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Super Easy Shortbread Cookies

Today is the day…..all the children back at school. My mind is buzzing with all the possibilities that today holds! All the things I put off during the summer holidays  to spend time with our 11, 13 and 15 year old children.

I love having them home, they all get along pretty well (not bad for 2 older girls and my boy) and I shall miss their music/chatter/mess… Well maybe not the mess. But they do fill our home with energy and fun. Still tomorrow is the weekend, so today I shall enjoy the peace knowing chaos is only a day away.

FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Super Easy Shortbread Cookies

Hmmm there’s jam to be made, not really in the mood for that, tidying – but it’ll only need doing again on Monday. Cookies! I have nothing really against shop bought biccies but you really can’t beat homemade and these are a doddle.

You will need:

2 x baking sheets with parchment paper on them.

Cling film (I’ll explain later)

Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature : it really makes a difference.

Recipe: Super Easy Shortbread Cookies makes 20-24

150g/5 oz Caster Sugar (plus 2 tsp for sprinkling on top)

1/4 tsp Salt

225g/8 oz Unsalted Butter

1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste, or 1 tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey 

1 Large Free Range Egg Yolk – the white can be frozen for up to one month, perfect for Pavlova

225g/8 oz Plain White Flour

50g/2 oz Corn Flour – corn starch

Method:

  • Place butter, sugar and salt into a large bowl.
  • Whisk or beat (using a wooden spoon) together until the mixture is very pale yellow.
  • Now mix in the egg yolk and vanilla paste/extract.
  • Sift in the flour and corn flour.
  • Mix thoroughly, but gently until all the ingredients are combined.
  • Now take a big, deep breath. The smell is scrummy and will help you recognise later when the Super Easy Shortbread Cookies are nearly cooked!
FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Making the cookie dough.
  • Set the mixture to one side so that you have a clear work top in front of you. You will need a clear space in front of you. Wipe this space with a clean, slightly wet, dish cloth.
  • Taking the clung film unwrap about 12 inches (30cm) lay it over the damp work surface as you do so. Magically the cling will lay flat and not become a tangled mess!
  • Place half of your cookie dough on the cling film in a rough log shape.
  • Using your hands and the cling mould the dough into a log, with a diameter of approx 1 1/2″ (7cm)
  • Wrap tightly making sure the cookie dough is as even as possible along the log.
  • Carefully transfer this to the fridge laying it on a flat surface (the dough will still be quite squishy – I usually lay it lengthways across my palm).
  • Repeat this process with the rest of the cookie dough. Leave the dough to rest and harden up for at least 2-3 hours.
FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Creating the cookie dough log, chilling and slicing the cookies.
  • Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan, 350F, gas mark 4, just before you remove the cookie dough log from the fridge.
  • Remove 1 log from the fridge and leave to warm slightly for 5 minutes (I find leaving it for this time makes the dough easier to cut and not crack).
  • Using a sharp knife cut regular discs approx 1/4″ (1/2cm) wide.
  • You should end up with 10-12 cookie discs.
  • Place these on the parchment paper lined baking sheets, making sure there is at least 1″/2.5cm gap each way between the discs.
  • Sprinkle each cookie with a little sugar.
  • Place the baking trays in the centre and lower part of the oven
  • Bake the Super Easy Shortbread Cookies for 14-17 minutes. When baked they are a light golden colour.
FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
  • When you start to smell the scrumptious buttery, vanilla smell it’s time to check on your cookies. DON’T PROD THEM – however tempting! They will still be soft and firm up on cooling. These cookies are cooked when they turn a light golden colour. Remove from the oven, careful they are hot!
  • Leave the cookies on the baking tray to cool completely.
FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
  • The sprinkle of sugar added just before baking gives the cookies a sparkling sheen once baked.

Pop the kettle on and try one, just to make sure they’re good. These cookies travel well and I like to pop some in cellophane bags tied with pretty ribbon and pass them on to friends andfamily. They are also scrummy when shared with a close friend over a cuppa and a heart to heart chat.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Super Easy Shortbread Cookies you may also like these:

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Heart Cookies 

FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Heart Cookies

Cherry Bakewell Cookies 

FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Cherry Bakewell Cookies

Rolo Chocolate Cookies 

FF Super Easy Shortbread Cookies
Rolo Chocolate Cookies

Since I am a self confessed Cookie Monster, I assume that others are too. Baking fresh cookies, ready to share, is one way of showing my friends and family how much I love them. I mean I’m giving away cookies! Whether it’s cookies, cakes or other bakes, I have never had anyone turn down the gift of a homemade treat.

If you want to see more of my recipes, or show me your bakes you can find me on Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest – @sammiefeasting

Sammie xx

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

 

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