Hello my foodie chums, sorry I’ve been a little quiet of late but I have an announcement to make… My fellow blogger and work colleague Anna and I have just been made THE NEW FOOD EDITORS OF HEAT MAGAZINE! Whoop whoop! Every week, we’ll be trying and testing recipes for your reading and cooking pleasure. Now, not all recipes will be vegetarian but rest assured that the ones that are, I will share with you dear readers on this very blog. Fortunately the first one we published was vegetarian so ENJOY!
Remember Frances Quinn who won the Bake Off in 2013? Well, she’s only written a book full of ingenious cake creations. Go, Frances! Admittedly, it may be for the more advanced baker, but undeterred, we donned our aprons and had a go at the easist recipe we could find. Now don’t forget, cakes can smell fear…
Makes one 10cm cake
Cake: 50g softened butter, 50g caster sugar,
1 egg, 1tsp vanilla extract, 50g self-raising flour,
1tsp warm water
To decorate: 50g strawberry jam, 50ml double cream, 1/2 tbsp icing sugar, few drops vanilla extract, 9 shortcake biscuits, 1 med & 2 small strawberries, 1tsp freeze-dried strawberry pieces
1. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Lightly beat the egg with the vanilla extract. Gradually add the egg to the butter and sugar, beating well after each addition. Sift in the flour and fold in until just combined, then add the warm water. Scrape the mixture into the tin and level with a spatula.
2. Bake for 20–25 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for ten mins before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
3. Slice the cake horizontally into two equal pieces.
4.Place the bottom piece on a cake board. Spread a few teaspoons of jam over the cut surface. Place the other cake layer on top. Put the cream in a bowl with the icing sugar and vanilla extract, and whip until it holds medium peaks. Spoon the cream on top of the cake and smooth with a palette knife.
5. Spread jam over the back of each biscuit to act as “glue” and press the biscuits around the side of the cake. Leave a few millimetres between each one to make it easier to cut the cake into even slices.
6. Decorate the top of the cake with the three strawberries, placing the larger one in the centre and the smaller two alongside, slightly off-centre. Scatter the freeze-dried strawberry pieces over the top.
Not knowing what a shortcake was, we decided to triple the ingredient amounts. We also covered it in 450ml of double cream, which is nine times the amount specified. WE LIKE CREAM, OK? We didn’t manage to get a good rise, either, most likely because we didn’t beat the mixture enough,so cutting our flat shortcake lengthways was challenging. But,once assembled, it looked great and tasted even better.
If you fancy trying this or any other of Frances’s recipes, then why not treat yourself to her book Quinntessential Baking by Frances Quinn.
Also, if you have a taste for the good, the bad and the unmissable, check out the brand spanking new heat magazine.