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Recipe: Indulgent Chocolate Barleycup Tart

Last year I seriously cut down on my caffeine intake and now I just drink a couple of cups of tea or coffee a week. These days I seem to be very sensitive to caffeine and if I have a cup of coffee too late in the day, I just won’t sleep at night. I don’t want to cut it out completely, but I do have to keep an eye on just how much I drink. With this in mind, I was sent a jar of Barleycup to try.

I’ve swapped my lunchtime coffee for Barleycup and I’ve hardly noticed the difference. Barleycup is made from roasted cereal grains and chicory roots and is free-from caffeine and contains no artificial additives. Barleycup is also gluten-free and certified by Coeliac UK.

Recipe: Indulgent Chocolate Barleycup Tart

Recipe: Indulgent Chocolate Barleycup Tart

Not content with just drinking it, I wondered if it would be any good to bake with. It turns out that it was. I made a variation on a chocolate and coffee tart, I made a deliciously indulgent Chocolate and Barleycup Tart which was every bit as good as the original. Here’s my recipe…

Chocolate and Barleycup Tart

Ingredients:
For the pastry –
4oz plain flour
2oz butter, cubed
A pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons of cold water
-or- a packet of ready rolled shortcrust pastry

For the filling –
150g single cream
2 tablespoons of sugar
150g good quality dark chocolate
2 tablespoons of Barleycup powder dissolved in 4 tablespoons of boiling water

Method:

Tip the flour, salt and butter in a large mixing bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. Use a knife and stir in just enough cold water to bind the dough together. Do this gradually as you don’t want your pastry to be too wet. Once you’ve made the dough, cover the bowl and chill it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so before rolling out.

Or if you’re using shop bought, ready rolled pastry, take it out of the fridge half an hour before you want to use it.

Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 5 or 190°

Take your pastry and roll it out to the thickness of a pound coin. You can either roll it out on a floured surface, or between two pieces of baking parchment. I find the baking parchment method quicker and a lot less messy.

Grease a 20cm tart tin and carefully put the pastry in the tin, pressing it against the sides. Let the pastry hang over the sides of the tin, you can trim it later. Prick the base all over with a fork. Top the pastry with a sheet of baking parchment and cover with baking beans, bake in your pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.

Remove the baking beans and parchment and pop back in the oven for another 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once cool, carefully with a sharp knife trim the pastry so it is flush with the top of the tin.

Recipe: Indulgent Chocolate Barleycup Tart

While your pastry is cooling, warm up your cream and sugar in a saucepan. Finely chop the chocolate and once the cream is simmering, turn off the heat and add the chocolate to the pan. Leave for a minute and stir until the mixture is smooth. Add in your Barleycup mixed with water and stir until combined.

Carefully fill the tart case with the Barleycup and chocolate mix, level it off and make an artistic swirl or ripple on the top if you want. Put your tart in the fridge for a minimum of two hours, or overnight if you wish.

To serve, garnish with raspberries or chopped nuts. It is very rich, so a little goes a long way.

I can confirm that Barleycup is a great coffee substitute in baking. It works really well, adding a slight bitter note and complexity to the tart. I’ll definitely be baking with it again, I wonder what a Barleycup and walnut cake would be like?

Recipe: Indulgent Chocolate Barleycup Tart

Note: I was set a jar of Barleycup to bake with. I have not been otherwise compensated for this post.

 

Recipe: Crumbly Cranachan Shortbread with Whisky

Cranachan is a traditional Scottish pudding, usually made with whipped cream, whisky, honey and fresh raspberries, with toasted oatmeal soaked overnight in a little bit of whisky. Whilst my Cranachan Shortbread recipe isn’t faithful to the original, it is considerably inspired by this Caledonian classic.

This Cranachan Shortbread recipe is a beautifully short and crumbly whisky shortbread, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with dried, crushed raspberries. It’s a biscuit and a half and a real Scottish inspired treat.

Recipe: Crumbly Cranachan Shortbread with Whisky

Dried raspberries are available, but hard to find. Unsuccessful, I ended up drying my own in a very low oven for many, many hours. I then crushed them in a pestle and mortar. I was pleasantly surprised with how they turned out, they didn’t smell especially powerful, but they certainly packed a flavour punch. They’d be great sprinkled on all kinds of cakes and desserts.

Cranachan Shortbread with whisky

Ingredients:
225g butter
130g caster sugar
350g plain flour
3 tablespoons of whisky
Caster sugar for sprinkling
100g milk chocolate
1 punnet of raspberries, dried

Recipe: Crumbly Cranachan Shortbread with Whisky

Method:
Pre-heat your oven to 180. You’ll need to have a couple of baking trays covered with greaseproof paper ready.

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly beat the butter and sugar together. Once fluffy, add the whisky and little by little add the plain flour. Mix with a wooden spoon as best you can. Try not to overwork it too much or the dough will go gluey.

I find the following method tidier and it stops you manhandling the dough too much. Once the shortbread dough is almost mixed, tip it out onto a large sheet of greaseproof paper; bring the dough together with your hands and then fold the paper in half with the mixture sandwiched in between.

With a rolling-pin, roll it out so it’s about 5mm thick and cut into rounds. I used a glass for this and carefully lifted each shortbread biscuit onto the baking tray. You should get around 18 shortbread biscuits out of the dough. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar over each round.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the shortbread, they still need to be pale and not brown. Once they’re baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack.

Whilst the shortbread biscuits are cooling, melt the chocolate over a bain marie. Once melted, dip each shortbread into the chocolate and half coat it, put your biscuit back on the greaseproof paper and sprinkle the dried raspberries. Try to resist eating your shortbread until the chocolate has set.

Enjoy with a cup of tea or a wee dram if you’re so inclined! Sláinte!

Recipe: Crumbly Cranachan Shortbread with Whisky

If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, you might also like this Haggis, potato cake & poached egg stack.

Casa Costello

Recipe: Delicious Armenian Red Cabbage Salad

For our wedding anniversary a few weeks ago, my husband and I went to the Armenian Taverna in Manchester for dinner. We used to go there a lot in the days before we became parents, partly because the food was absolutely fantastic and partly because my husband is half Armenian and it’s good to celebrate those roots. We feasted on the beautiful mezze plates and chatted like the old days and we both fought over the small but delicious portion of Armenian Red Cabbage Salad, a dish I’ve decided to recreate at home because it was that good!

Mezze is always my favourite part of any Armenian meal. I love piling my plate with little heaps of good salads and sides, with dollops of rich hummus served with still warm lavash bread. Delicious.

Recipe: Delicious Armenian Red Cabbage Salad

This Armenian Red Cabbage Salad is and always has been one of my favourite dishes. The saladIt’s really simple to make and keeps for a few days in the fridge. I like to make a big bowl of it and serve it with almost anything. We had it this week with lamb koftas with a little salad and some lavash bread. It was so good I polished the rest of the bowl off for lunch.

It is better if you can make it the day before you need it as it really allows the flavours to develop. It’s so simple and I think a really flavoursome and slightly healthier alternative to coleslaw.

Armenian Red Cabbage Salad

Ingredients
1 small red cabbage, or half a large one
1 dessert spoon of caster sugar
2 dessert spoons of Balsamic vinegar
1 dessert spoon of good olive oil
A handful or sultanas or craisins
A good handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt & pepper
Walnuts, optional

Method
Finely slice your red cabbage and toss in a bowl to separate all the slices. In a small jar add your sugar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and some seasoning. Put the lid on the jar and shake it hard until its well combined.

Pour the dressing over the red cabbage, add in your handful of sultanas or craisins and stir. Give the salad a taste and add more seasoning if you think it needs it. Over the bowl and put in the fridge overnight.

Before serving, remove from the fridge to bring it up to near room temperature. Stir through the chopped parsley and taste again to check the seasoning, adjust if you think it needs it. If I have any walnuts I sometimes like to chop them up a little and throw them into the salad too.

Recipe: Delicious Armenian Red Cabbage Salad

Serve however you want. We like our Armenian Red Cabbage Salad served with a mezze lunch or it’s great with lamb or this traditional Armenian Imam Bayildi recipe. This Armenian Red Cabbage Salad hits so many delicious sweet, sour and crunchy notes, I’m sure it’ll become a family favourite of yours too!

Recipe: Delicious Armenian Red Cabbage Salad

Recipe: Microwave Lemon & Thyme Sponge Puddings

A couple of years ago I made a bit of a breakthrough in making quick puddings for my family. I made a jam sponge in the microwave and that’s been our go to speedy pudding at home for a little while. As much as we all love jam sponge (and we really love jam sponge) I thought it was time to ring the changes. This weekend I made Lemon & Thyme Sponge Puddings in the microwave and they were really rather good. Good enough to give to guests who think you’re more Mary Berry than you actually are. 

Easy Recipe: Microwave Lemon & Thyme Sponge Puddings

These fab little puddings are great to throw together in a hurry and take just 3 minutes to cook in the microwave. We have a Panasonic microwave oven which is just the thing for cooking these speedy puds. Just make sure you cook the Lemon & Thyme Sponge Puddings one at a time and maybe check how your pudding is doing after two minutes or so. 

I’ve used fresh thyme in these sponge puddings, which I admit is fairly unusual. We have fresh thyme in the garden and it is one of my favourite herbs. Don’t be tempted to used dried thyme in these puds, I don’t think dried would work. If you don’t have fresh then just leave the thyme out altogether.

Lemon & Thyme Sponge Puddings

Ingredients (serves four)
4oz butter or margarine
4oz sugar
2 eggs
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon of thyme leaves, picked from the stalk
1 teaspoon baking powder
4oz self raising flour

To top the puddings –
Lemon curd
Thyme leaves
Custard

Method
With an electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and thyme leaves and combine. Tip the flour and baking powder into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and beat together.

Lightly grease four microwave proof ramekins. Fill each one 3/4 of the way full with the sponge mix. Loosely cover with cling film, allowing some extra room for the sponge to steam and rise. Microwave each one individually for three minutes. You might want to check how they’re getting on after 2 minutes or so. Your sponges need to be cooked through but not overdone.

Once cooked, run a knife around the edge and tip them out onto a plate. 

Put two heaped dessert spoons of lemon curd into a microwavable dish and warm through for 30 seconds. Stir until it is the consistency of a sauce and drizzle over the top of your sponge, scatter some fresh thyme leaves over and serve with custard. Delicious!

Easy Recipe: Microwave Lemon & Thyme Sponge Puddings

= This is a collaborative post =

Recipe: Pizza Hot Dogs – great to make with kids!

The school holidays can take a lot of filling. On our last day off school we met up with some friends and headed to Bella Italia for lunch, then for a play at the nearby Wacky Warehouse. Lunch for 7 lively kids and 4 weary Mums was a nice relaxed affair, the food was a crowd pleaser, but one thing caught my eye – the pizza hot dogs on the kid’s menu. It was something I knew I’d have to recreate at home. I had a hunch they’d be a hit and they really were.

Recipe: Pizza Hot Dogs - great to make with kids!

Not only are the pizza hot dogs great for kids to eat, but it turns out they’re lots of fun for them to make too. They are as junky as they sound, but as a once in a while treat they’re pretty blooming fantastic. If you’re feeding vegetarians you can use vegetarian hot dog sausages (which I’ve fed to both boys before and they’ve not noticed), if not, just choose your favourite frankfurter or hot dog sausage.

Recipe: Pizza Hot Dogs - great to make with kids!

I used a pizza base mix – most supermarkets have their own these days; a jar of pizza topping and some of those bright orange cheese slices you put on burgers. It’s up to you if you want to use a homemade sauce or a less processed cheese. These pizza hot dogs are a quick meal the kids can help you make. Perfect for a picnic lunch, movie nights at home, or for when you’ve got a crowd of little monkeys around for a playdate or party.

Pizza Hot Dogs

Ingredients – makes 8 
1 packet of pizza base mix (145g)
8 slices of burger cheese
1/2 jar of pizza topping sauce
8 frankfurters or hot dog sausages

Method

Make up the pizza dough following the instructions on the packet. Pre-heat your oven to the temperature suggested on the packet  – mine was 200°.

Cut the dough into 8 equal sized pieces and roll out into rectangles (on a floured surface). There needs to be about 2cms at the top and bottom and 3cm each side when you put your sausage on.

Recipe: Pizza Hot Dogs - great to make with kids!

Take each cheese slice and cut it in half. Then lay the cheese on top of the dough and spread a heaped teaspoon of the pizza topping sauce on top of the cheese. Put your hot dog on top of the tomato sauce.

Fold the top and bottom edges of the dough over the sausage and press the edges of the dough together. Pull one of the long edges over the sausage and tuck it under. Pull the other edge across so the sausage is hidden inside. Pinch all the edges together until they are sealed shut.

Recipe: Pizza Hot Dogs - great to make with kids!

Dust a baking tray with flour or polenta so the dough doesn’t stick. Lay your pizza hog dogs on the tray. You may want to brush them with olive oil at this point, but that’s up to you.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. The time will depend on how thickly you’ve rolled out your dough. When cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes.

Recipe: Pizza Hot Dogs - great to make with kids!

They retain their heat very well, so it’s an idea to cut them open and leave them to cool before little ones get their hands on them.

These Pizza Hot Dogs are really fun to make and a real family treat. You could fill them with your favourite pizza toppings too – pepperoni pizza hot dog anyone?

Recipe: Pizza Hot Dogs - great to make with kids!

Foodie Round Up: Vegetarian Christmas Dinner Ideas

I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 13 and one of the questions I’m asked the most is what do you have for your vegetarian Christmas dinner? The easy answer is, pretty much the same as everyone else, but without the turkey and with veggie gravy. We always do 800 different kinds of vegetables anyway, so I’ve never felt left out, and as the lone veggie at the table I never felt like it was worth the bother. 

In 2001 my lovely sister in law came along. She was a veggie and when the percentage of vegetarians around the table had increased, we thought it was worth making a bit more of a culinary effort on Christmas Day. Over the years we’ve experimented with various vegetarian alternatives, but hand on heart my favourite has turned out to be the nut roast. I know it’s a terrible cliché, but I just love it.

I’ve picked out six delicious vegetarian Christmas dinner options (or maybe just for Sunday lunch), so if you’re catering for vegetarians this Christmas, there’s no need for them to feel left out.

galette

Go for my goats cheese and caramelised onion galette, it’s incredibly simple but utterly delicious. It’s a real family favourite. You could add a seasonal twist by swapping out the onions for stuffing and adding a dollop of cranberry sauce!

My good friend and fellow vegetarian, Jen from My Mummy’s Pennies has shared her recipe for Festive Stuffed Mushrooms. These hearty shrooms are filled with festive flavours, they’d be easy to put together on Christmas Eve and pop in the oven on the day. Easy peasy. 

vegetarian Christmas dinner

Christmas isn’t Christmas without something chock full of chestnuts gracing the table, this Leek, Artichoke, Mushroom and Chestnut Pie from Inside the Wendy House certainly fits the bill. I imagine this would also be great cold on Boxing Day with some bubble and squeak. 

vegetarian Christmas dinner

I love the look of this Vegetarian Beef Wellington from Jenny at The Brick Castle. It looks hearty enough to satisfy any rogue carnivores around the table, but quick and easy enough to be thrown together in a busy Christmas kitchen.

If you’ve got a vegan coming for Christmas, Inside the Wendy House has come up with this delicious sounding Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Nut Roast Pie. It looks super-simple but really. Wendy says it’s good served cold too – I bet it is!

vegetarian Christmas dinner

If you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy a good stuffing at Christmas. I tend to favour fresh stuffings on Christmas Day, they just taste a bit more luxurious than the dried packets of stuffing. For a really simple vegetarian Christmas dinner option, Mr Crumb have a range of fresh microwavable gourmet stuffings to choose from. I think the apple and apricot is cracking and would be excellent in one of Jen’s stuffed mushrooms with some softly melting goats cheese on the top. 

vegetarian Christmas dinner

I think there are lots of great ideas in this round up of vegetarian Christmas dinner ideas – I think most of them could easily be adapted to be vegan too. I do love a nut roast on Christmas Day, but if you don’t, there are plenty of other options available to you. 

What will you be serving up on Christmas Day?

Six Sensational Vegetarian Christmas Dinner Ideas

Five Delicious Vegetarian Comfort Food Dishes

I turned vegetarian when I was 13 and there’s not a lot I miss, but on a cold winter night I do sometimes hanker after the slow cooked, deep flavoured chilli my Nan used to make. Thankfully after lots of practice I’ve finally nailed the recipe and managed to make it vegetarian too.

Most of the warming comfort food dishes from my childhood were meat based – family roast dinners, my Nan’s amazing beef chilli, corned beef hash, shepherd’s pie and bubbling stews cooked so long the meat almost melted in your mouth.

There’s something about cooking up some comfort food which makes you feel like you’re showing your family some extra love. I enjoy throwing a few things in the slow cooker and knowing that by tea time there will be a delicious meal ready for my family.

Vegetarian comfort food can feel a bit hard to come by, so I’ve created and shared some of our favourite family recipes on my blog, here are five of my favourite vegetarian comfort food recipes – 

Vegetarian Galletes

vegetarian comfort food

These are a recent addition to my comfort food repertoire. They’re really easy to make, utterly delicious and once you get the hang of it you can fill them however you want. I made a Goats Cheese, Caramelised Onion and Quince Galette and a Feta, Red Pesto & Tomato Galette. Both were absolutely bang on and real crowd pleasers.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

vegetarian comfort food

Now autumn is here my soup making pot is starting to see some serious action. Cauliflowers are cheap and plentiful in the shops, so I recreated my favourite soup, but with a cheesy twist. Try my very delicious Norwegian inspired Cauliflower Cheese Soup.

Spanish Style Bravas Sausage Casserole

vegetarian comfort food

I’d had it in my head to make a big Spanish style bravas sausage casserole in my slow cooker for a while. This summer hadn’t been up to much and I was desperate to start rustling up comfort food dishes, and this was the first one of the season. I made my sausage casserole with Quorn sausages, but you could very easily make them with your favourite meaty sausages if you’d prefer. I made the sauce in the slow cooker and let it bubble away gently to itself for a few hours. The recipe is really simple and it’s now a firm family favourite.

Authentic Armenian style Imam Bayildi 

vegetarian comfort food

Imam Bayildi is basically stuffed, baked aubergines. They’re simple to make, you can prepare them ahead of time and then cook them when you need them and they are melt in the mouth gorgeous. I like to use good quality ingredients in this recipe as every single mouthful zings flavour. Fresh vegetables and herbs are essential, they’re packed full of flavour and these sunshiny aubergines are a little bit of summer on a cold autumn evening.

Easy Microwave Jam Sponge

vegetarian comfort food

No vegetarian comfort food round-up would be complete without a pudding. This incredibly easy to make and very quick to cook microwave jam sponge is just the ticket to warm your cockles on a cold winter evening. All you need are a few store cupboard ingredients, ten minutes of your time and you’ve got a good pud that’ll make your family smile.

Voucherbox.co.uk have a great blog post about the five healthy foods that can actually save you money, and if you want even more money off your online shop they also have plenty of Sainsbury’s vouchers which you can use.

vegetarian comfort food

Recipe: Malty Malteser Butterfly Cakes

In my family, September is birthday month and this week it was my brother’s turn to blow out the candles. We weren’t having a big bash for him, but you can’t successfully have a birthday without cake. My brother loves Maltesers, so I thought I’d make him some quick and easy butterfly cakes, but with a Maltesery twist.

I’ve had a jar of malt extract lurking in my cupboard for a little while now, so I knocked up a standard sponge recipe and added a big dollop of the lovely malty stuff. Baked my buns until they were golden and whipped up a chocolate buttercream icing complete with a big bag of smashed up Maltesers. There was no room for candles, but at his age they’re verging on a fire hazard anyway!

Malteser Butterfly Cakes

The little Malteser Butterfly Cakes came out a little darker than a plain sponge would. This is because the dark malt extract makes the mixture darker. They’re not overdone, that’s their natural bronzed colour.

This recipe makes around 12 malteser butterfly cakes.

Malteser Butterfly Cakes

4oz Butter or margarine
4oz sugar
1 dessert spoon of malt extract
2 medium eggs
1 teaspoon of baking soda
4oz self raising flour

For the buttercream:
4oz butter
4oz icing sugar
1 tablespoon of drinking chocolate powder
10oz of Maltesers

1. Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy and the stir in the eggs and malt extract.
2. Carefully fold through the baking soda and self raising flour until combined.
3. Dollop into cake cases, there should be enough to make about 12 buns.
4. Bake in a preheated oven at 190c for around 15 minutes. Once cooked leave to cool.
5. To make the buttercream, beat the butter, icing sugar and hot chocolate powder until soft and fluffy. Bash up the Maltesers and gently fold in.
6. Carefully cut a circle out of the top of each of your cooled cakes, cut the circle in two, dollop a teaspoon of buttercream into the hole and top with the halves to make them look like butterfly wings.

Malteser Butterfly Cakes

If you love butterfly cakes, you might also enjoy my Peanut Butter Butterfly Cake recipe.

Casa Costello

Recipe: Spanish Style Bravas Sausage Casserole

When I go out for tapas I always order patatas bravas. I love the crispy pieces of potato smothered in the garlicky, tomatoey bravas sauce. I’ve had it in my head to make a big Spanish style bravas sausage casserole in my slow cooker for a while. This summer has not been up to much and the rainy days have had me guiltily rustling up comfort food dishes, instead of summery salads and such like.

I confess I made my sausage casserole with Quorn sausages, but you could very easily make them with your favourite meaty sausages if you’d prefer. Making the sauce in the slow cooker and letting it bubble away gently to itself for a few hours makes it extra delicious.

Bravas Sausage Casserole

I browned the sausages separately and popped them into the sauce for the last hour or so. The great thing about Quorn sausages is that they take on some of the flavour of the sauce.

To serve I roasted some new potatoes in some oil and once they were cooked I spooned over some sausages and bravas sauce and added a dollop of incredibly garlicky aioli.

Spanish Style Bravas Sausage Casserole

Serves 4
A super simple, delicious and fairly frugal family meal.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 500g cartons of passata
2 tablespoons of tomato purée
1 tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce
2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
Salt & Pepper to taste
8 sausages (two per person) I used Quorn sausages

Instructions
In a frying pan gently fry the onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until it’s soft but not brown. Add in the garlic towards the end of cooking and cook through.

Tip the fried onion and garlic into your slow cooker, add the passata, tomato purée, smoked paprika, sweet chilli sauce, sugar and oregano and cook on medium for about 3 hours. Taste and adjust seasoning if you feel it needs it.

In the frying pan, fry your sausages until they’re brown, drain and add to the sauce and leave to cook through for an hour. Before serving stir through 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley.

Serve the Bravas Sausage Casserole with crispy roasted potatoes and aioli. Scatter with the remaining chopped fresh parsley.

Notes
I sometimes finely dice some peppers, cook them off and add them to the sauce to bump up the veg content. This sauce is perfect for hiding secret veg from your children!
This does make lots of sauce. If you have lots left over, it’s delicious warmed up the next day with crusty bread.

The Bravas Sausage Casserole was delicious and something I will be making over and over again. What’s more it’s very simple, pretty quick to throw together and fairly frugal. What’s not to love?

Recipe: Spanish Style Bravas Sausage Casserole

Ma’amy Dodger Cake – A Royal Bake Fit For A Queen

The Queen is celebrating her 90th Birthday with a National Party on June 12th, and to help with the celebrations, I took part in a competition to bake something #FitForAQueen with Kitchenways.

I baked a deliciously light sponge cake filled with lovely purple (the royal colour) mulled wine jam. I’d like to think the Queen would approve of my simple but very yummy cake which I’ve called my “Ma’amy Dodger Cake”; a nod to the fact that a) there’s jam in it and b) when you call the Queen ‘Ma’am’ it’s meant to be pronounced ‘mam’.

#FitForAQueen

To find out how to make my Ma’amy Dodger Cake, read my recipe below…

Ma’amy Dodger Cake – A Royal Bake #FitForAQueen

Serves 16
A classic Victoria Sponge layered with Mulled Wine Jam and Chantilly Cream. Meet my Ma’amy Dodger Cake – A Royal Bake #FitForAQueen

Ingredients
300g caster sugar
300g softened butter
6 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp milk
300g self-raising flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
For the filling
1/2 Jar Mackays Christmas Preserve (mulled wine jam)
200ml double cream
1 level tablespoon of icing sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Instructions
Heat your fan oven to 190c. Butter three 20cm sandwich tins. In a large bowl, beat your butter and sugar together until fluffy (I used a hand mixer). Add the eggs, milk and vanilla and combine, then add the flour and baking powder and mix together until you have a smooth batter.

Divide the mixture equally between the three tins, you can weigh them to make sure they’re fairly equal if you’d like. Bake in your pre-heated oven for around 20 mins until golden and they’re cooked. Remove from the tins and leave to cool on a cooling rack.

To make the Chantilly cream, beat the cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy. I used my hand mixer for this and it took just a few minutes.

To assemble the cake, choose the most attractive of the three sponge cakes and save that one to go on the top. You may need to cut the top of some of your layers to make them flatter so they sit more comfortably on each other. Put the bottom layer on your serving plate or cake board. Put a teaspoon of jam on the plate and put your bottom layer on that. It will help it stick to the board. Cover that first layer with your jam and put the second layer on top. Gently press the layers together. Top your second layer with the cream and put your top layer on top, sprinkle with icing sugar or decorate as you wish.

Notes
The cream is fresh so the cake will need to be eaten fairly quickly or refrigerated. If you want to keep it for a few days it might be best to not have the cream in between layers, maybe kept in the fridge to indulgently dollop on the side.

My Ma’my Dodger Cake would make the prefect addition to a celebratory street party or a refined afternoon tea round at Buckingham Palace. It’s so quick and easy to make, it’ll leave you plenty of time to make a few plates of cucumber sandwiches and mix up a jug or two of Pimms for the party!

Ma'amy Dodger Cake - A Royal Bake #FitForAQueen

I’ve served mine on my new (royal) purple cake carrier from Kitchenways. It’s perfect for picnics and for keeping flies and other unwanted things off your bakes if you’re dining out. It’s also fairly indestructible if dropped and large enough for my super-sized Ma’amy Dodge cake to sit on comfortably. 

Will you be baking a cake with your family to celebrate the Queen’s birthday? What will you bake that is #FitForAQueen?

#FitForAQueen

I have to say, this sponge recipe is absolutely magic, I use it as the base for all my sponge cake bakes now, from butterfly cakes, cupcakes, sponge puddings and good old Victoria sponges, it’s light every single time. I can’t fault it.

Note: I was sent the cake carrier from Kitchenways in return for this post. All images, opinions and content are my own.