Victoria Sponge

This victoria sponge recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart strawberry shortcake recipe, but since I spread some jam between the layers I thought a Victoria Sponge was a more befitting name. It’s no ordinary victoria sponge- instead of light and fluffy sponge or chiffon cakes for the cake layers, this one is a marzipan-cornmeal pound cake. It isn’t very heavy and dense though, it’s still pretty fluffy and the almond flavour is so addictive and pairs very well with the jam. Atop the slick of jam on the cake is a generous layer of mascarpone cream, a cool and neutral flavour to tame down the sweetness of the cake. I topped the cakes with the tiniest and cutest English strawberries- instant kitschy cute. Almost unbearably cute..

Blueberry love

I’ve been obsessing over my blueberry plant ever since it started to ripen, very beautifully I might add. Blue begins to marble the skin and within a day or two the entire fruit turns from green to a dusty blue, then whole bunches turn blue then the whole tree.. it’s quite exciting watching it happening! My plant was heavy with ripe fruit a few days ago so I decided it was time to pick them and bake something. There wasn’t enough for pie or a crumble so a pound cake it was. There’s also some sliced rhubarb in it, since I had two stalks that needed to be used. Rhubarb and almond go hand-in-hand so in went some marzipan into the batter, and also some cream cheese.. I replaced a bit of the flour with ground almonds and this resulted in the cake falling after it was removed from the oven, but that’s ok- it was still delicious.

For a “regular” sized loaf pan:

170g sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
90g blueberries
1 stalk rhubarb, cut into 0.5-1cm chunks
170g self raising flour
20g ground almonds
160g butter
160g cream cheese
40g marzipan (I used Anthon Berg 60% Almond Marzipan)
50ml milk
2 eggs

1. Grease and line a loaf tin, preheat oven to 160°.

2. Cream butter, sugar and marzipan until light and fluffy. Add egg one at a time, then add the cream cheese, vanilla and milk.

3. Fold in the flour and ground almonds.

4. Fill the tin 1/2 full and scatter the blueberries and rhubarb chunks (save some for the top), then top with the rest of the batter and place some blueberries and rhubarb on top.

5. Bake for about 50 minutes to an hour, depending on your oven.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam

I made a simple strawberry-rhubarb jam to fill a Strawberry Shortcake/Victoria sponge. I wanted it to be quite tart so the cake wouldn’t be too sweet so I used a ratio of 80% sugar to fruit, so 800g sugar to 1kg fruit. I used about 3/4 strawberries and a quarter rhubarb, the rhubarb was just to make the flavour a little more interesting. Macerate the fruit with the sugar for 2-3 hours, then squeeze 1 whole lemon and place the squeezed lemon into the pot to boil along with the fruit until it reaches “thread-stage”. I just halved the very large strawberries and left the small ones whole because I like big chunks of fruit in my jam, but if you like it smoother, then you can chop them up smaller, of course.

 

blueberries

Lots of my photos of my pretty blueberry plant which has started to fruit! Now I’m waiting for my fig tree  to give me some lovely, juicy figs..

Rum Raisin Sandwich Cookies

I’m very much inspired and influenced by Japanese style, even though I haven’t been to Japan myself (I’m planning to go in November to visit my best friend!!). I like the sweet, girly and modest style, and how everything looks so *ideal*. This is something I think about while I bake and I consciously try to achieve. This cookie recipe is inspired from one of my Chinese-translated Japanese cookbooks, and it’s very, very delicious! I packed them all and gave them away to a new friend who bought one of my cakes as a thank-you. Because I try not to post recipes from books even if I’ve adapted it, I’ll give you a hint: butter biscuits, rum swiss buttercream and rum-soaked raisins ;) I keep forgetting how insanely good swiss buttercream is- so silky smooth and lacking the grittiness of icing-sugar based buttercream, just smooth, smooth, smooth… yum..

mise en place all prepped

Orange, Almond, Olive Oil and Rosemary Syrup Cake.

Damp, almondy, citrus cakes are one of my favourite kinds, I  especialy love the ones that are so drenched in syrup that it leaves a sticky film on your fingers and are practically “juicy”. This cake ticks all the right boxes: very, very syrupy, gloriously dense, with the added bonus of a surprise flavour: rosemary! It’s very subtle but it makes quite a difference, and I find myself really liking the pairing of this usually savoury herb with sweet desserts. I was first and foremost motivated to use rosemary in this cake for economic reasons- I had already bought a bunch for the apricot jam I made a few days back and didn’t want to waste it! Being frugal has its rewards I suppose. Also, I’d first encountered rosemary in a cake in Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Lemon Rosemary pound cake back in 2005 (!!) then again at a café across LCB which serves their version of orange-rosemary cake (which is awfully expensive!) so I thought it’s about time I made a cake with rosemary in it. I was very specific about what I wanted: 1) it needs to be made with olive oil 2) flourless 3) very orangey 4) drenched in syrup  so it took me well over an hour to find a recipe that seemed right.. and found it on BBC Good Food.. doh!! I just replaced the saffron with rosemary, but next time I’d replace one of the oranges with lemon, I think it’d be better slightly more tart. I ate mine with double cream but it’s very lovely with raspberry coulis too, like how they do it at the café.

New

My sister and I redid the kitchen last week- it looks much better and a lot more spacious! I replaced the old table with a kitchen island and we hung up my beautiful le creuset pots and pans which saves a lot of space and displays them beautifully.

And I got a 2nd hand Le Creuset casserole from eBay last week. It needed a lot of cleaning but looks beautiful now. One more for the collection!

 

Apricot-Rosemary Jam Tart with Goat’s Cheese

This tart is quite possibly the best thing I’ve made all year, I couldn’t stop eating it! It has a bold, sweet-savoury flavour which I find super addictive. The whole composition of the tart- the olive oil wholewheat crust, apricot-rosemary jam and goats’ cheese is just so bizzarre and new to me, but so clever! The apricot-rosemary jam is seriously the best jam I’ve ever had- sweet, slightly tart and a touch herbal from the rosemary which helps balance the sweetness. And I’ve never made a crust like this, it’s completely different from the pâte sucrée and pâte brisee we make in school, there’s no butter or egg in it, the entire thing is bound together with olive oil and lemon juice! Totally weird, but so good. It’s crunchy and crumbly, with nubbly bits of oatmeal and oat bran. The recipe is from one of my favourite French blogs, 543 pages avant la fin du monde.

 

 

Baby Croissants


This weekend was full of yeasty experiments, I made a black sesame braided loaf, a plain milk loaf and croissants. My intention for making croissants was to use my newly discovered ingredient, a jar of rose petal jam that I had chanced upon in a Middle Eastern grocery shop in Edgware road. It’s very floral, rose-y but assertively sweet, so I thought a buttery, flakey croissant would be the perfect blank canvas for the flavour of the jam to shine but not overwhelm. I’d only ended up making two croissants with jam in the middle as I was worried the jam would leak terribly and make the croissants stick to the baking sheet. I needn’t worry though as even though it did leak slightly it was perfectly ok and in fact it was so delicious! I had only spread a smidge of jam in the middle and it was the perfect amount, enough to perfume the croissant delicately and make it just a touch sweet.

I still have half of the croissant dough in the fridge, I’ll probably bake the rest of it with jam, and when I’m done with that I’m thinking of making little brioches filled with rose jam.. Or maybe mixing some of the jam with berries and making a galette, or spooning it over vanilla rice pudding.. or semolina? Or making little rose doughnuts.. hell yea definitely doughnuts! Maybe I should fill the doughnuts with rose crème diplomat instead of just jam? Or a rose bakewell tart? Rose linzer cookie? Rose pound cake?

Rhubarb & Custard Tart

Cette tarte est du livre de David Everitt Matthias, “Dessert”. Le livre est très bonne! Les recettes sont très créatifs et originaux, et les photos sont belles. Le recette utilise les jaunes d’ouefs de canard, mais j’ai utilise les jaunes d’ouef de poulet. 

“This tart is from David Everitt Matthias’ book, “Dessert”. The book is amazing! The recipes are very creative and original, and the photos are so beautiful. The recipe uses duck egg yolks, but I used chicken yolks.”

I’ve had this recipe bookmarked since I got the book almost 3 years ago, but I only made it today.. what a shame! The “duck egg custard” in the title intrigued me, but ironically, I don’t quite like the overly egg-y flavour of duck eggs so I used normal hen eggs. It was really good, although my pâte sucrée crust was slightly soggy because I threw the entire thing into the fridge to cool it down quicker so we could eat it! The rhubarb was deliciously floral-fruity, and the custard! The custard was so silky smooth, like a dim sum egg tart.. Finally, ground ginger was lightly dusted and nutmeg grated over the custard before it was baked, and the tart emerged from the oven slightly puffed and the custard only just a tiny bit wobbly.