Flourless caramelised white chocolate and mini egg cake

My contribution to Easter: taking a recipe that really really doesn’t need to be any sweeter, and adding Mini Eggs to it. It sounds gross, but most of what baking is is layering sweet things on top of each other. You’re supposed to introduce a savoury element, reduce the sugar where appropriate, balance the flavours (salt, acid etc.) in your baking to make sure the end product isn’t cloyingly sweet. Instead, I thought about the flourless dark chocolate cake and I wondered whether it would work with white chocolate and Mini Eggs. The result has the texture of a blondie, just a little bit gooier because of the lack of flour. You still get a crackly top – I always feel disappointed when I see a brownie/blondie without one so this was definitely a win-win situation.

The cake would have been too sweet if I didn’t caramelise the chocolate for an hour and a half, even if sticking your head in a hot oven every ten minutes to stir chocolate feels a bit OTT – caramelising the chocolate is necessary, especially if you’re going to add crushed up bits of chocolate that contain an indecent amount of palm oil and E numbers. If you can’t be bothered to caramelise the white chocolate and can’t justify buying a 2.5kg bag of it (smaller quantities yet to be seen), you could fold through crushed raspberries. Or save yourself the hassle, use dark chocolate, leave out the Mini Eggs and serve with a dollop with crème fraiche – it doesn’t get much more sophisticated than a flourless chocolate cake, and it would make the ultimate dinner party dessert.  Continue reading

In Season: March (and Easter!)


t my parents’, we have an annual Easter egg hunt, despite the fact that we are all at least 12 years too old for such antics. The point of the hunt isn’t really finding the chocolate and gorging until we have to allocate one person to roll the rest of us into the dining room for lunch. The real point is finding the most difficult places for the eggs for my oldest brother, so we can sit back and snigger as he wanders about looking for them.

Until this year. This year, with one heart attack behind us and a wedding in the near future, we’re foregoing the chocolate. Instead, I’ll have to live vicariously through you lot and Instagram. This month’s round-up slightly reflects this.

Last thing before we hop off to the good stuff…don’t forget that you can get £10 off at Bloom & Wild (in time for Mothers Day) here! This isn’t even a paid-for endorsement, they’re just…really good. Continue reading

Lemon syrup cake

lemoncakesideSo you know how the foodie section of the internet is all creme eggs and hot cross buns and chocolate nests right now? Yeah, I thought maybe we could shake things up a bit.

I love a chocolate egg as much as anyone – I swear, chocolate always tastes better in egg form – but this year Easter weekend will bring three extra things: Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead finale. It’s a big TV weekend for nerdy people, and I for one am excited. Continue reading

Spiked Hot Cross Bread & Butter Pudding

SpikedTrayI noticed last week that my front page is getting really, er, brown. A lot of the foods I’ve been enjoying are shades of beige and brown – largely because carbs are brown and carbs are brilliant. This spiked twist on bread and butter pudding is no different.

I’ve said before how much I love hot cross buns – there’s nothing quite like the sweet, spicy smell of cinnamon and sugar and fruit wafting from the kitchen. As much as I’d be happy to eat them simply toasted and smothered in butter, dressing them up with a little egg and dried fruit spruces them up just enough that maybe you’d be judged less for consuming it all. Maybe.

Bread and butter pudding is a dish that’s always about homeliness and ease, a matter of using up some left overs. So when it came to looking for a recipe, I was surprised to see that a lot of them called for vanilla pods, double cream, and breads you’re not likely to have left over from that week’s packed lunches, like panettone. I’m sure if you’re a famous chef, you’re quite likely to have some cream laying about, and you’ve probably got a stash of Fairtrade vanilla pods that you’re happy to simmer in milk for 3 minutes then discard. But the average person doesn’t have these items, surely? In short, although I love food magazines and cooking programmes, sometimes they just seem a little too far removed from reality.

All you need for this pudding is a few eggs, some (normal!) milk, a little rum and some hot cross buns, which are on offer pretty much everywhere at the moment. The hardest part is not eating them all as soon as you buy them.

Spiked Hot Cross Bread & Butter Pudding

Serves 6-8.


75g raisins
5tbsp dark or spiced rum
8 hot cross buns
3 eggs
2tbsp sugar, plus some to sprinkle
600ml milk
Vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon


1) The night before making the pudding, place the raisins and rum in a small bowl or Tupperware box and cover. Allow to soak overnight.
2) On the day, heat the oven to about 75C and slice your hot cross buns in half. Place the halves straight onto the wire racks (hope your oven’s clean!) and heat for about 30 minutes, or until crispy. If you’ve somehow resisted the hot cross buns long enough to let them stale slightly naturally, skip this step.
3) When crisp, remove from oven and butter on one side. Arrange in your baking dish, butter side up. Remove the raisins from the rum, reserving the left over rum for later use, and sprinkle on the bun halves. Change the oven temperature to 160C.
4) In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale, using a balloon whisk. Set aside.
5) In a medium pan, heat the milk and vanilla extract until hot but not boiling. Remove from the heat, and add to the egg mixture along with the leftover rum, stirring as you pour, to make your custard. Mix thoroughly.
6) Pour the mixture over the hot cross buns and allow to soak for 30 minutes, spooning the custard over any dry areas.
7) Sprinkle sugar, cinnamon, and grated nutmeg over the pudding to your taste. Bake for around 30 minutes, until the custard is set. Serve warm with cream or vanilla ice cream.