There is no real reason for this particular piece of writing only a pure unadulterated lust for all things sweet, densely creamy and which can be served up in thick delicious slices! Over recent weeks and for various occasions (actually only one was an occasion, the rest were for the hell of it!), I have baked a trio of my favourite pies, cakes and tarts as a little reminder to myself why I love baking. The best part however, is being able to share what I’ve made with my nearest and dearest. To see them eagerly spoon each mouthful and give me a little nod of approval, now that’s better than eating the cake itself. Alright, alright it’s almost better….
Tantalise your tastebuds, whet your whistle, feast your eyes on these little beauties!
Victoria Sponge Cake
Egg Custard Tart Recipe
For the sweet pastry base crumb together 225g plain flour and 110g of cold butter. Stir in the sugar and then mix in one beaten egg. Gradually add enough milk to form a soft dough. Grease a loose bottom 8″ flan dish. This recipe will make 2 tarts but you could make half and freeze half. Blind bake at 180 degrees centigrade for about 15-20 minutes but keep an eye on it. It will start to colour and crisp up but be careful not to burn it. Meanwhile slowly heat 600mls of full fat milk in a saucepan, you could add a vanilla pod or vanilla essence for extra flavour. Whisk together 6 eggs and 80 grams of caster sugar. Once the milk is hot but not boiling, take it off the heat and pour into a jug. Slowly add the milk to the egg and sugar mixture, whisking the whole time until all the milk has been added. Pour into you pastry case carefully (there will actually be enough of this mixture to make a couple of tarts or, do what I did and just pour the leftovers into ramekins and bake little individual custards). Grate a little fresh nutmeg over the tart and bake in the oven at 200 degrees centigrade for 25 minutes, turning the oven down to 180 in the last 10 minutes. You will be looking for a slight doming appearance on the tart, this means the egg is cooked through. Cool completely before slicing and enjoying!
Victoria Sponge Recipe
Preheat the oven to 180 (160 for fan assisted). Grease and line two 8 inch (20cm) sandwich tins. Place 225g of softened butter into a large bowl along with 225g caster sugar, 225g self raising flour and 2 level teaspoons of baking powder. Take 4 large eggs and crack each one in. Using an electric whisk on a slow speed, beat for 2 minutes, or until smooth (I usually end up beating it for about 4 -5 minutes just to make sure everything’s smooth and combined) The mixture will be soft enough to drop off the beaters when you lift them from the bowl. Divide the mixture equally between the two sandwich tins, leveling the surfaces with a palette knife or spatula. Bake the cakes for 20 -30 minutes. When they are cooked they will shrink away from the sides of the tin and spring back when pressed. After about 10 minutes, turn out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Smear the two half’s with strawberry jam (beat it with a spoon to soften it up), sliced strawberries if you wish and lashings of thick double cream. When assembled, dust with icing sugar and serve immediately! Simply delicious!
Crunchie Cheesecake Recipe
Heat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Crush 14 digestive biscuits, meanwhile melt 150g of butter in a saucepan or microwave. Combine the biscuit crumbs and melted butter and turn out into an 8inch loose bottomed tin. Press down firmly with the back of a spoon making sure the mixture is smooth and even on top. Bake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile softened 400g full fat cream cheese in a large bowl, pour in 500mls double cream and whisk until thickened but not too stodgy. If you think the mixture needs sweetened a little sift in a little icing sugar. Lightly crush 4 Crunchie bars and stir through the cream and soft cheese mixture. When the base has cooled completely, spoon one third of a tin of Carnation Caramel onto it and smooth over. Stir the rest into the creamy mixture (or less if you think its too much but when can you ever have too much caramel?). Pour the mixture into the tin, smooth off the top and chill for at least 4 hours (overnight if you can resist eating it before then!). Note: there is no caramel layer in the picture as I adapted the recipe later but believe me it adds a whole other dimension of yumminess!