Tag Archives: raspberry

Doughnuts, Take 2!

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Vegan doughnuts, so naughty and so good. Yes they involve a bit of deep frying, but, trust me, they are sooo worth the effort!

Who knew vegan doughnuts could be so good? Honestly, I’ll never go back to making them with eggs (even if I could eat them!) as it’s just not necessary! This is such a good recipe that’s quick to make, and if you can be brave to deep fry them, you’ll never go back to buying any sort of doughnut.

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I chose to fill my doughnuts with raspberry jam. It’s a classic for a reason, right? These are definitely my favourite was to finish off a doughnut… I don’t know what in life could be better than biting into a freshly made still warm doughnut, sticky and crunchy on the outside with an explosion of jam in the centre that just dribbles all over your fingers.

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These are definitely quite high up on the naughty scale… I know you can bake doughnuts…. but personally I sort of think if you’re going to eat one, do it properly and make it fried. The baked ones, although good, just miss the addictive texture of soft, fluffy dough in the middle with a crisp skin on the outside. These definitely hit the spot! And with quite a lot of sugar in them already, the extra bit of oil from frying really isn’t going to kill you!

I might do another post showing some other ways to finish off these doughnuts soon. I’m making it sound like that’s for your benefit…when really it just justifies me eating these again!

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Raspberry Marshmallows

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Light as air, melt in the mouth, flavoursome Raspberry Marshmallows. These are the absolute indulgent treat; if you’ve never had a homemade marshmallow before now, then I’m begging you to try this recipe!

As I mentioned before, I’m lucky enough to have gotten engaged to my boyfriend (or I suppose Fiancé now, although neither of us can say the word with a straight face!) in October. We’ve done a fair bit of wedding planning, including booking our venue, but it was whilst searching for one that I had my very first homemade marshmallow.

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As we went from venue to venue, plied with champagne and chocolates (not dairy free, unfortunately, although of course Matt did not complain!), we were really beginning to flag. And then, at the lovely Stanwell House Hotel in Lymington, they had trays and trays of these perfectly formed, identical, pink raspberry marshmallows. They were just…. amazing. So much so that although the venue wasn’t perfect for us, I couldn’t stop myself from going on and on about how amazing it was (read: the marshmallows completely overtook my opinion of everything else!).

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After eating a homemade marshmallow, I think it will be hard to ever eat a shop bought again. These just literally melt in the mouth… they’re so light and airy, and surprisingly less sweet than usual. Don’t get me wrong – they are still by far the sweetest thing I’ve ever baked. But as they’re not as sweet as usual, you can eat more… which is definitely dangerous. The other way in which they significantly differ is flavour. There’s no way you could mistake these for anything other than raspberry flavoured; whereas those pink marshmallows you buy in the supermarket bags – any idea what flavour they are? – they’re raspberry too!

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Before I started looking at homemade marshmallow recipes, I wasn’t really sure what was in them. When you look at the back of a shop bought packet, the ingredients are really a little vague. Proper marshmallows are egg white, sugar, gelatine, and flavouring – and are simpler to make than I thought. I’m not going to pretend that this is a super simple bake as it definitely requires a sugar thermometer and ideally a free standing mixer or second pair of hands. It also requires multitasking – they key to perfect marshmallows is getting your egg whites and sugar syrup ready at the same time. Even I will admit that I failed miserably on this at the first time – my egg whites got way over whipped, so I had to bin them and start again… whoops!

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I would definitely advise making these for a large group (or take the rest into the office!) as it makes a surprisingly huge amount from only two eggs, and this will help reduce the risk of eating them all… something I did seriously have to think about! I now daydream about the many other possible flavours I could make, so watch this space for more!

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Raspberry Celebration Cake

IMG_2344A 3 tiered celebration cake; layers of delicate lemon sponge sandwiched together with raspberry buttercream and fresh raspberries, and covered in marshmallow-like American Frosting. Ideal for a special occasion celebration.

I’ve just started reducing my hours at work to concentrate more on blogging and turning this into a full time venture, and so it only seemed appropriate for the first bake on my day off to be something fit for a celebration. This cake is just that; delightfully tall, it just shouts ‘big occasion’ and is a wonderful mix of two of my favourite flavours – lemon and raspberries.

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Raspberries are best at this time of year when in season; whether they come from the supermarket, a pick your own farm, or even just picked from a bush at the side of the road, they are delicious. The sweet and sharp flavour works really well with cakes, as the sharp contrast can break through the sweetness – it works perfectly here with the American Frosting. This recipe also uses my Raspberry Curd to flavour the buttercream, giving it a strong raspberry flavour throughout.

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American Frosting is very different to a traditional buttercream; First off, there is no butter in sight. It is essentially a very soft type of meringue. It starts off as Swiss or Italian meringue (depending on if you have a sugar thermometer; I have a recipe for both methods below) but the sugar is not heated as high, resulting in a much softer and more marshmallow-like texture.

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I was inspired by a recent episode of The Great British Bake Off to give the American Frosting a try, and just like the contestants, I found it was not the easiest thing to make. The main place I went wrong was letting it cool too much before slathering it on the cake. Unlike meringue, which you would keep whipping until cool, you need to work with this whilst it is still warm. Follow that tip and you’ll find the recipe faultless.

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Lemon Shortbreads, Coconut Milk Whipped Cream and Berries

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Crumbly, buttery lemon shortbread cups filled with whipped coconut cream and raspberry curd, and topped with fresh raspberries. A delightfully simple dessert perfect for summertime.

You know those beautifully presented, tiny patisserie-type desserts? The ones that look just so appealing, delicate, and perfect? Yeah? Well, these were an attempt! Perhaps the presentation was slightly amiss, but they definitely delivered on taste. I also loved being able to use my Raspberry Curd in these, as usually it is reserved for cakes and ice cream toppings – but it just worked so perfectly with these flavours.

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These desserts look complicated and fiddly, like you’ve spent a lot of time and effort on them – but as with lots of my baking, I can assure you that is not the case! The only real effort required for these cups are the biscuits themselves, and they are as simple as you can get; they just look more fancy (and, therefore, more effort) than a normal biscuit because of it’s shape, which just comes from baking it in a cupcake tin.

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Once the shortbread cups are baked and cooled, the only other effort is whipping the coconut cream, which one could hardly call any effort at all! They are finished off by dolloping in a teaspoon of curd and the cream, and finally by popping a fresh raspberry on top. If you haven’t already made some raspberry curd (and don’t fancy the effort), a thickened raspberry puree would work just as well. These would make an elegant ending to a dinner party, or a lighter alternative to cake at tea time.

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Raspberry Curd

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Delicious Raspberry Curd; a berry take on traditional lemon curd which has just as much flavour and will eternally remind me of summer. Perfect for cakes and desserts, or just on its own straight from the jar.

In a previous post about Lemon Curd, I explained how ‘curd’ was this mysterious being… so tasty but I thought far too hard to actually make yourself. Well, once I had made Lemon Curd a few times, mostly successfully (once it ended up like scrambled eggs… that was a disaster!), my confidence grew and I started to think about what other kinds of curds could be made – and it seems the options are endless!

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Of course with my love of raspberries, Raspberry Curd was going to be the first one I tried, and it’s one I go back to making every summer. And what makes making Raspberry Curd even better than Lemon Curd? Raspberry picking! I often double this recipe which then requires a lot of raspberries, so I use this as an excuse to go to a pick your own farm and pick a huge amount of fruit. I still remember going strawberry picking with my family when I was little, and I think it will forever be one of those summer activities that brings out the child in me… As I obviously sneakily ate a few as I went round!

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Raspberry Curd can be used just like Lemon Curd; it’s great as a tart or cake filling, spooned over ice cream, turned into a delicious buttercream, or just eaten straight from the jar. You can use them a filling in my Raspberry Meringue Cupcakes, and I have a few more recipes coming over the next few weeks which feature this delicious Raspberry Curd.

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Chocolate Meringues

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These chocolate meringues make a great dessert paired simply with berries and vanilla ice cream. Chewy and very chocolatey, they make a wonderful alternative to traditional white meringues.

Flavoured meringues were something I had wanted to try for ages. I don’t know why, but whenever I see flavoured, colourful meringues in the shops they just look so appealing; and none more so than chocolate meringues. At this time of year when berries are popping up everywhere, light, chocolatey desserts are the perfect accompaniment. So I thought I’d give them a try!

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Having had lots of busy weekends one after the other, these were great to make as a quick dessert as once the meringues were done, it only needed some fruit and ice cream on the side. They also keep really well in an air tight container for 4 – 5 days, making them perfect to bake in advance and have ready when needed.

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I’ll be honest and say they are a bit trickier than a normal meringue – only because you have to be really gentle folding in the chocolate and cocoa powder. But if you can handle standard meringue, you will be absolutely fine with these. Whereas normal white meringues can become very crunchy, crack easily and taste mostly of lightly caramelised sugar, these are the opposite – wonderfully chewy, more sturdy in texture and with chocolate chips studded throughout they’re full of flavour.

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If you’re feeling fancy, you could make a quick raspberry sauce to pour on top – or use my raspberry curd recipe which I will be posting soon. They’re great without it, but the sauce does add an extra bit of zing to compliment the sweet chocolate meringue.

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Victoria Sponge Cake

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A perfectly classic Victoria Sponge cake; soft, fluffy sponge cakes sandwiched together with vanilla buttercream and fruit jam.

A Victoria Sponge is such a British classic, and in my opinion every good baker should be able to nail a perfect version of it. The reason why I say this is often people think a Victoria Sponge is one of the more simple cakes you can make; and whilst this is true in terms of techniques, it is also difficult in the sense there is no where to hide! With just simple flavours and a dusting of icing sugar on top, the flavours shine and so does your perfect taste and texture.

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One thing I love about this cake is it’s universal appeal. Perfect for children and adults alike it works for birthdays, special occasions or even just when you fancy a bit of cake. You can also play with the flavours to suit your tastes, the occasion or the season. Whilst this is made with half raspberry and half strawberry jam which is ideal for summer, you could also make this with blackberries or apples in autumn, or with rhubarb or oranges in winter.

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A perfect Victoria Sponge consists of two sponge cakes with a light and soft texture, and they should be ever so slightly crumbly when fresh. I’ve substituted the traditional whipped cream filling for a light, not too sweet vanilla buttercream – not only do I personally think this is preferable to cream but it will also keep fresh longer. Also, if you find yourself surrounded by a glut of fresh fruit, you could use this instead of jam for a change.

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