Archive for Recipes

Libby’s Pumpkin Pie recipe for Thanksgiving

Posted in American food, Baking, Pies, Recipes, Seasonal food with tags , , , , , , , on 24/11/2011 by libbyplummer

Libby's pumpkin pureeHappy Thanksgiving! Time for turkey, back-to-back NFL games and of course, pumpkin pie. Obviously, we don’t actually celebrate Thanksgiving here in the UK, but I’ll use any old excuse for some extra pudding.

I’ve named my recipe, somewhat narcissistically, after myself, as it uses Libby’s tinned pumpkin and I do like to have things with my name on (a point illustrated by my gargantuan collection of Tatty Devine name necklaces). Libby’s tinned pumpkin isn’t that easy to find in the UK, so I get mine online from the Stateside Candy Company and you can also find it at Whole Foods.

You can make the pastry yourself if you want, but I prefer to cheat and use a ready-made pie case as they’re much less likely to burn or go soggy. Enough waffling, let’s talk turkey and crack on with the recipe…

What you’ll need:
2 x ready-made pastry cases (around 8in diameter)
4oz/110g/1 cup light soft brown sugar
A good pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1 large egg
14oz/450g/4 cups canned or fresh pumpkin puree
1/4 pint/150ml/just under 3/4 cup whipping cream

What to do:
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/170°C (fan oven)/375°Fgas mark 5. If using fresh pumpkin, boil the flesh until soft and then drain. Make sure that it’s as drained as is possible, otherwise you’ll end up with far too much moisture in your mixture. Next, mash it up with a potato masher.

If you’re a lazy sod like me and you’re using tinned pumpkin, then you can skip to straight to the easy bit. Mix together the sugar, salt, cinnamon, mace and egg and beat with a fork. Once it’s all mixed in well, add the pumpkin and the cream and mix together until it’s all combined. Dollop it carefully into the two pie cases and even the mixture out with a spatula. Bung in the oven for about 35-35 mins until the filling looks slightly firm and the pastry is just beginning to go golden brown. Leave to cool. Serve on its own or top with cream (there’s usually some leftover whipping cream if you’ve bought a big enough pot).

Syrian Victoria sponge

Posted in Baking, Cakes, Recipes with tags , , , , , , on 18/11/2011 by libbyplummer

Syrian Victoria sponge“What the blue blazes is a Syrian Victoria sponge?”,  I hear you cry. Well, it’s essentially a traditional Victoria sponge containing Syrian rose jam, rather than the usual, boring raspberry or strawberry. Simple.

I made this almost cripplingly sweet cake using some rose jam that my friend Kate brought back for me from her recent trip to Syria. Granted, Syria isn’t exactly a top holiday destination at present due to the wave of demonstrations that are currently rocking the Arab world (also known as the Arab Spring) and the fact that it’s potentially on the brink of a civil war, but Kate was visiting her sister who currently works for the Foreign Office in Damascus. Very brave.

Rose jam

The recipe is totally idiot-proof and is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s dreadfully titled (but brilliant) baking tome How to be a Domestic Goddess. Sorry Nigella, I love your work, but I really hate the excruciatingly twee name of that book.  You should be able to find Rose jam for sale on the web (I wouldn’t recommend a trip to Syria at the moment), or you can use any kind of jam you like. Seedless is best.

Sorry the pictures are bit rubbish – they were taken in dwindling daylight…

What you’ll need:
225g unsalted butter (softened)
225g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
25g cornflour
3 tbsp milk

For the filling:
4 tbsp rose jam
150ml double cream

For the topping:
Some caster sugar

Syrian Victorian sponge 2

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C (fan oven)/350°F/gas mark 4. Line the bottom of two sandwich tins (approx 22cm diameter) with baking parchment and grease the sides with butter or cake release.

Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl, using a fork, then add the vanilla extract. Next, add the eggs, one at a time, stirring the mixture and adding a small amount of the flour and cornflour in between each one. Once it’s all combined, add a small amount of milk at a time to thin out the mixture a bit. I found 3 tbsp was about right.

Divide the mixture between the two tins and even out using a spatula. Bake for 25 minutes or until the top of the cake start to brown slightly and the cake starts to come away from the tin at the edges. Leave to cool in the tins for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Once completely cool, place one layer on a plate/cake stand or whatever you’re going to serve it on and spread with a layer of jam. Next whip the cream in a bowl using a balloon whisk until it’s thickened but still soft and shiny. Don’t over-beat it or it’ll start to curdle. Spread over the jam, then pop the other cake layer on top and sprinkle with a tablespoon or so of caster sugar. And voila – Syrian Victoria sponge.

‘Razor Blades in Candy’ red velvet cake

Posted in Baking, Cakes, Recipes, Seasonal food with tags , , , , , , , on 30/10/2011 by libbyplummer

Razor blades in candy red velvet cakeThis is my cakey take on the classic Trick or Treat urban myth of ‘razor blades in the candy’. Firstly, I should probably point out that there are no razor blades in this cake. The one in the picture is actually a pendant that I used for the photo and then removed. Putting actual razor blades in your cake is likely to end in tears, blood and a lengthy prison sentence. Don’t put actual razor blades in your cake. I really can’t stress that strongly enough.

If you want to include razor blades, I suggest ‘getting your craft on’ and making some out of silver cardboard.

Red velvet cake

I decided to use candy corn to decorate my ‘blood’-splattered cake as I’ve seen it dished out to Trick or Treaters in hundreds of American Halloween films and TV programmes (I exaggerate), but we don’t have it here in the UK and I’d always wondered what the hell it was. I ordered mine online from the Stateside Candy Company. Turns out, it tastes a bit like fudge.

Brach's candy corn ad

I don’t usually use ready-made cake mixes, but recipes for red velvet cake always involve so much arsing about with buttermilk and red food colouring and so on, that I find it easier to cheat (I used a Duncan Hines, again, from the Stateside Candy Company).

Brach's candy corn & red velvet mix

What you’ll need:

Red Velvet cake mix

For the icing:
450g icing/confectioner’s sugar
75g unsalted butter (softened)
190g cream cheese (e.g. Philadelphia)

For the topping:
Candy corn
1 tbsp seedless raspberry jam

What to do:

Prepare the red velvet mix according to the instructions on the pack to make two round layers of sponge.

Once the cake is cool, make the icing by creaming together the icing sugar, butter and cream cheese using a fork. Don’t be tempted to use reduced fat cream cheese as it’s far too runny and your icing will end up as a gooey mess. Once combined, spread half the mixture onto one layer of sponge using a large palette knife then place the other layer on top. Ice the top of the cake using the remaining mixture.

Razor blades in candy red velvet cake 2

Add some candy corn for decoration. For the fake blood, melt the jam in a saucepan, adding a few drops of not-quite-boiling water to thin the mixture slightly. Once melted, drizzle on the top of the cake and you’re all done. Trick or Treat!

Rock star cook book coming soon

Posted in Books, Gifts with tags , , , , , on 25/08/2011 by libbyplummer

Love Music, Love Food Brian MayLove Music, Love Food is a brand new cook book packed with interviews with more than 60 rock stars talking about their favourite foods. Featuring images from renowned foodie photographer Patrice de Villiers, the book has been penned by music journo Andrew Harrison with recipes from rock ‘n’ roll caterer Sarah Muir.

The stellar lineup includes Noel Gallagher extolling the virtues of Yorkshire Tea, Queen’s Brian May, in praise of grapefruit and The Who’s Roger Daltrey talking trout.

Love Music, Love Food is available from 5 September and has been put together to raise awareness (and funds) for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Via: Shortlist
Image: Patrice DeVilliers

Peanut butter plectrum biscuits

Posted in Baking, Biscuits, Recipes with tags , , , , , , , , on 22/08/2011 by libbyplummer

Inspired by a guitar plectrum-shaped cake that my mum made many years ago for my brother’s birthday, I decided to knock up some plectrum biscuits (that’s cookies to you, American cousins). In a nod to Elvis, who died last week in 1977, I flavoured my biccies with peanut butter, famously one of his favourite snacks.

Fender plectrums

I recently procured the Biscuiteers Book of Biscuits, which I used as a basis for this recipe. It’s the first time I’ve used the professional method of separate line and flooding icing, hence the slightly wobbly results. The recipe is a bit long-winded, but it’s all worth it in the end. Here’s what to do…

What you’ll need:

250g plain flour (sieved)
100g soft brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
65g salted butter (softened and diced)
65g golden syrup
1 egg
1-2 tbsp milk
65g peanut butter

For the icing:
180ml cold water
1kg royal icing sugar/mix
Whatever colours you choose (in this case, yellow, blue and black gel colours)

Plectrum biscuit and plectrum

What to do:

Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and crumble into the mixture using your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. In another bowl, lightly whisk together the egg, syrup, one tbsp of milk and the peanut butter. Tip the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together until you get a soft dough. Add a dash more milk if it feels too dry. Divide the dough in half and mould each into a flat disc before wrapping in clingfilm and popping in the fridge for at least an hour.

Plectrums

Once chilled, unwrap the dough and place between two sheets of parchment before rolling out to 5mm thickness. Keeping the paper on, put the dough back in the fridge for about 20 minutes (on a baking tray or chopping board). While the dough is in the fridge, pre-heat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan oven)/350°F/gas mark 4. After chilling again, you’re ready to cut out your shapes, either using ready-made cutters or your own templates. To make your own, just draw or trace your design onto a piece of parchment and then stick this a spare piece of card and cut out. You can then bung this on top of you rolled-out dough and cut round it using a sharp knife. Place the shapes on a lined baking tray, leaving plenty of room between each biscuit. Cook for 14 minutes or so (you may need more time, depending on your oven). The biscuits are ready when they start to turn golden brown around the edges. Once out of the oven, transfer to a wire rack and make sure that they’re completely cool before icing, or it won’t stick.

Plectrum biscuits

For the icing:
Chuck the water in a large bowl, then add 900g of the royal icing sugar and whisk together until the icing is roughly the same consistency as toothpaste. You might need to add more icing sugar if it’s not thick enough. For this recipe, you’ll need to save three small bowls of icing at this stage – two for making the outlines and one of the Fender writing. Colour one blue, one yellow and one black, by adding tiny amounts of colouring at a time and mixing in with a fork until you get the colour you want. Take the first outline colour, bung in a disposable icing bag and snip the end to make a small hole. Pipe the outline of a plectrum around the edges of half of your biscuits, making sure that you join the ends up to create a tiny wall of icing. Do the same with the blue icing. Next divide the remaining icing from your original bowl into two parts. This will be your flooding icing, so you need to colour each bowl to match the yellow and blue outline icing. Once done, spoon carefully into the middle of each biscuit and smooth out to the edges using a cocktail stick. Leave to dry.

Colour the third tiny bowl (that you saved earlier) with black colouring, pop into an icing bag and snip of a small section at the end. You might want to practice writing the Fender logo in a piece of parchment before you have a crack at icing your biscuits.

Finally, return your biscuits to a baking tray and place in very cool oven – about 50-70°C/120-160°F/gas mark1/2-3. This may sound like utter madness, but it actually helps to restore the biscuits’ crunch, which can be softed by the moisture in the icing.

You might also like these Elvis peanut butter chip biscuits that I made earlier this year.

Space cupcakes for the final shuttle launch

Posted in Baking, Cakes, Recipes with tags , , , , , , , , on 10/07/2011 by libbyplummer

Space cupcakes 2I fully admit that I’m a bit of a space nerd (I own mission patches from all 17 Apollo launches), so the very last space shuttle lift-off on Friday 8 July 2011 was a pretty big deal, and certainly an occasion worthy of some themed baked goods (you’ve probably noticed by now that I don’t need much of an excuse).

I should probably point out these are space cupcakes only in the sense that they sport the red, white and blue of the NASA logo along with the starry sky effect icing. They’re not the kind of space cakes that contain illegal drugs. Just a touch of vanilla. Sorry.

Final space shuttle launch

You can read my ramblings on the space shuttle over at Pocket-lint.com or if you want to make your own space cupcakes (of course you do), then read on and get stuck in. In the meantime, if you want a laugh, check out this space shuttle-based post over on Cake Wrecks.  Although the comedy cake blog is always amusing, this is the only post that has ever had me guffawing uncontrollably (or LMFAO if you insist).

What you’ll need:
110g/4oz self-raising flour (sieved)
110g/4oz caster sugar (sieved)
110g/4oz margarine
1tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract

For the buttercream icing:
225g/8oz icing (confectioner’s) sugar (sieved)
100g/3.5oz softened unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Black paste food colouring
Silver sprinkles
Edible silver glitter

Makes 12 cupcakes

Space cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C (fan oven)/325°F/gas mark 3. Line a muffin tin with cupcake cases. Plonk the sifted flour, sugar, margarine and baking powder into a bowl and cream together with a fork. Next add the two eggs, mixing after adding each one, then add the vanilla extract. One it’s all combined, give it a quick go with a whisk to make the mix light and fluffy.

Distribute evenly between the 12 cupcakes cases and bung in the oven for 20 minutes (or until slightly golden brown and firm but springy to touch). After taking out of the oven, let them cool in the baking tray for about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Make sure they’re totally cool before you add the icing, or it won’t stick.

For the buttercream icing, sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl and cream in the butter using a fork. Once it’s all combined and smooth, add the paste colouring using a cocktail stick, a little at a time. Each time you add some, mix it in with a fork until you get the colour you want. Once it’s ready, either pipe on with an icing bag or use a flat knife to spread onto the cakes. Swiftly add the sprinkles and edible glitter before the icing dries (it’s best to ice half the cupcakes then add the sprinkles before icing the rest to make sure that it doesn’t set in between).

4th of July cake balls

Posted in American food, Baking, Cakes, Recipes with tags , , , , , , , , on 04/07/2011 by libbyplummer

It’s been 235 years since the Declaration of Independence was approved by Congress, marking the start of the United States’ official separation from Great Britain. Nowadays, this momentous occasion is marked largely with fireworks, barbecues and baseball. And of course, cakes. (Check out the hilarious gallery of disasters over at Cake Wrecks – the  “4 Jluy” is possibly the highlight).

Getting into the spirit of things (despite being British and living in London), I knocked up a batch of 4th of July cake balls, mainly to justify the large stash of red, white and blue sprinkles that I’ve been building up from numerous trips to Target when in the US. The recipe is adapted from Molly Bakes‘ excellent new Cake Pops book and uses Renshaw Simple Melt topping, kindly given to me by the manufacturer to try out. Read on and get stuck in, y’all.

What you’ll need:
For the cake:
120g margarine (or softened unsalted butter if you prefer) plus extra for greasing tin
150g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
180g self-raising flour (sieved)
4 tbsp milk

For the icing:
80g softened unsalted butter
40g cream cheese (not low fat version)
200g icing sugar (sieved)
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping:
Yoghurt Simply Melts (or white chocolate or whatever topping you want to use)
Red, white and blue sprinkles

4th of July cake ball close-up

What to do:
Preheat oven to 180° C /160° C (fan oven)/350° F/ gas mark 4. Grease and flour a 20-25cm cake tin (round or square). I use Wilton cake release, which doesn’t need flouring – you just spread it round the tin with a pastry brush. Cream the margarine and sugar with a fork until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in between. Add the flour, mix until combined and then gradually add the milk and mix again.

Dollop the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 35 minutes or so, or until a cocktail stick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean with a couple of crumbs. Remove from oven, leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing, cream the butter and cream cheese together with a fork, add the icing sugar and continue to cream until it’s all mixed in and as smooth as possible. Lastly, mix in the vanilla extract. Bung in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using.

Once the cake is cool, carefully remove the crusts with a bread knife and crumble the cake into a bowl. Once you’ve transformed your cake into a bowl of crumbs, take one tablespoon of the icing at a time and work into the crumbs with your hands (you might not need all of the icing). Mix together until you’ve got a fudge-like mixture that’s not too tough or too soggy. Wrap in clingfilm and stick in the fridge for at least an hour.

Once chilled, break off a chunk of the mixture and roll into a ball in using your hands. The size depends on how big you want your cake balls, but about the size of a ping pong ball is a good place to start. Pop them on a tray lined with baking parchment and stick back in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Next, remove the cake balls from the fridge, turn them over and insert cocktail sticks into the flat-ish side of the ball (the stick needs to go about halfway through). Now melt your Simply Melts according to the instructions (you can also use candy melts or melted chocolate if you prefer) and transfer to a heatproof bowl. Take one cake ball at a time and dip it into the mixture, swirling around until the ball is completely covered (use a spoon to drizzle the mixture over any bald patches if you’re finding it a bit tricky to get them totally covered). Now place them on a cooling rack with the cocktail stick pointing downwards, between the wires. If the cooling rack is too near to the kitchen worktop, rest it on a couple of glasses at either end to raise it up. As soon as you cover each ball with topping, swiftly add a few sprinkles before they dry. Leave to set (they only take about 10 minutes). Happy Independence Day!

London Baking Battenberg cake recipe

Posted in Baking, Cakes, English food, Recipes with tags , , , , on 31/05/2011 by libbyplummer

London Baking BattenbergI first made my own version of Battenberg cake for the royal wedding back in April, but I didn’t post a recipe as I hadn’t quite perfected it – until now. This classic, British almond-flavoured cake was supposedly invented in 1884 for a royal wedding (for more info, see my previous Battenberg post).

Again, I haven’t opted for the classic pink and yellow colours, instead going for the pink and green from the London Baking logo (if you hadn’t already worked it out, this is inspired by The Clash’s London Calling album cover which was based on Elvis Presley’s first LP). Without further ado – here’s my recipe for London Baking Battenberg cake.

What you’ll need:
110g/4oz self-raising flour (sieved)
110g/4oz caster sugar (sieved)
110g/4oz unsalted butter (softened) or margerine
1 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
Paste food colouring
Apricot jam
Pack of marzipan

If you use all of the sponge, then this should make a cake that’s roughly the same size as the Battenberg that you buy in the shops. If, like me, you don’t have a tin that’s the correct shape and size then you’ll probably end up trimming alot of the sponge away to get straight edges so your cake will end up being about two thirds of the size.

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C (fan oven)/325°F/gas mark 3. Line two tins with baking parchment. Unless you have two tins that are exactly the right shape, you might need to use some ingenuity here. I used one brownie tin with a makeshift divider made from foil running down the middle to make two seperate baking areas, one for each colour sponge. What you need to end up with is two rectangular pieces of sponge that are deep enough to form the cake when sandwiched together. Two loaf tins would also work well. As you can see from the picture, the layers are slightly wonky, but it doesn’t really matter. If you want it to look perfect then you’ll either need to get your ruler out or invest in some pans that are exactly the right size (or ones that come with adjustable dividers).

Once you’ve finished horsing around with cake tins and foil, it’s time to make the cake. Plonk the sifted flour, sugar, butter/margarine and baking powder into a bowl and cream together with a fork. Next add the two eggs, mixing after adding each one, then add the vanilla extract and almond extract. One it’s all combined, give it a quick go with a whisk to make the mix light and fluffy. Divide the mixture between two bowls and add your chosen food colouring. I use Sugarflair paste colouring, adding a tiny amount at a time with a cocktail stick and mixing in with a fork until the shade is right.

Dollop each colour mixture into a separate tin (or separate area of the same tin) and bung in the oven for 20 minutes (or until very slightly golden brown and firm but springy to touch). After taking out of the oven, let the two layers cool in the baking tray for about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack and leaving to cool completely.

Battenberg close-up

Now, the tricky bit. You need two rectangles of sponge, so if your pans weren’t exactly the right size to start with, grab a sharp knife and carefully level the top of the pink cake so that it’s flat and and is twice as wide as it is high. Do the same for the green cake. Spread a thin layer of apricot jam onto the top of the pink cake and stick the green layer on top. Cut lengthways down the middle so that you end up with two strips. Lay one on it’s side so that you have a line of pink and a line of green. Spread a thin layer of apricot jam on the top. Take the other strip and lay it on top the other way round so that the pink lays on top of the green underneath and vice versa.

Next, lightly dust a chopping board/worksurface with icing sugar, take a pack of marzipan and roll out until it’s about 3mm thick. You need enough to cover the four long sides of the cake, so try to roll it into a roughly rectangular shape (you can trim the excess afterwards). Rather than the usual yellow marzipan, I used white, which is much paler than the yellow, but not really pure white.

Next, heat a couple of tablespoons of apricot jam in a saucepan until it’s warm and slightly more liquid-like (being careful not to burn it). Using a pastry brush, cover the top and two long sides of the cake. Using the rolling pin for support, carefully lift up the marzipan and place on top of  the cake so that both sides are covered and there’s enough left on one side to cover the bottom. Smooth each side down and trims the ends of necessary. Once attached, paint the remaining melted jam onto the underside and fold the rest of the marzipan over so that all four sides of the cake and now wrapped in marzipan and trim the excess. Don’t worry –  it’s a lot easier than it sounds. Slice and serve with a nice brew (Americans – that means tea, not beer, unless you fancy an ale with your cake, of course).

Anarchy in the UK cupcakes for the royal wedding

Posted in Baking, Cakes, English food, Recipes with tags , , , , , , , on 28/04/2011 by libbyplummer

Royal wedding cupcakesOk, so vanilla cupcakes aren’t going to topple the monarchy or ignite a revolution, but they are inspired by The Sex Pistols’ Anarchy in the UK AND they have a circled A on them. Anything to make my over-enthusiastic purchasing of Union Jack cake cases make me look slightly less like a royalty-loving pillock.

And for the recipe? Read on and get stuck in.

Will and Kate mural

What you’ll need:
110g/4oz self-raising flour (sieved)
110g/4oz caster sugar (sieved)
110g/4oz margerine
1tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract

For the buttercream icing:
225g/8oz icing (confecitoner’s) sugar (sieved)
100g/3.5oz softened unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the royal icing:
1 large egg white
250g/9oz icing (confectioner’s) sugar (sieved)
lemon juice (if needed)

Whatever sprinkles/food colours you desire

Makes 12 cupcakes

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C (fan oven)/325°F/gas mark 3. Line a muffin tin with cupcake cases. Plonk the sifted flour, sugar, margarine and baking powder into a bowl and cream together with a fork. Next add the two eggs, mixing after adding each one, then add the vanilla extract. One it’s all combined, give it a quick go with a whisk to make the mix light and fluffy.

Royal wedding cupcakes

Distribute evenly between the 12 cupcakes cases and bung in the oven for 20 minutes (or until slightly golden brown and firm but springy to touch). After taking out of the oven, let them cool in the baking tray for about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Make sure they’re totally cool before you add the icing, or it won’t stick.

Royal wedding cupcakes

For the buttercream icing, sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl and cream in the butter using a fork. Once it’s all combined and smooth, add in any colouring that you require ( I use paste colouring). On these particular cakes, I added a few drops of icing whitener, which pretty much does what it says on the tin. Once it’s ready, either pipe on with an icing bag or use a flat knife to spread onto the cakes.

Royal wedding cupcakes

Obviously you don’t have to pipe circled As onto your cakes (I don’t believe it’s a common move in the world of baking), but if you want to then read on. Whisk the egg white together with the sieved icing sugar until the misture is white and stands in stiff peaks. If it feels too thick to mix (or pipe), then add a couple of drops of lemon juice. Colour with paste colouring, pop into an icing bag and away you go.

Easter brownies with smashed up Cadbury’s Mini Eggs

Posted in American food, Baking, Cakes, English food, Recipes, Seasonal food with tags , , , , , , , , on 24/04/2011 by libbyplummer

I considered making zombie Jesus biscuits for Easter but I didn’t have time (next year, readers, next year). Instead I decided on some less blasphemous brownies. I topped the whole lot with melted chocolate and covered one half in Dr Oetker citrus strands and edible glitter. Stumped for inspiration for a Easter-based topping for the other half, I finally decided to smash up some Cadbury’s Mini Eggs, before adding some edible silver spray, just in case the brownies didn’t look quite camp enough.

Easter citrus brownies
The basic recipe (which can be used on its own, without the need to set about a bag of Mini Eggs with a rolling pin) is an old classic from my mum. As with most of the best chocolate cake recipes, the taste is accomplished with cocoa and sugar, rather than chocolate, which results in a tasty, moist cake rather than a greasy, sickly stodge, like many of the brownies that you get in the shops.

What you’ll need:
250g/8.82oz unsalted butter
325g/13oz caster sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
100g/4oz plain flour (sieved)
75g/3oz cocoa (sieved)
0.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp salt

For the topping (optional):
1 big bar of plain chocolate
Citrus sprinkles
Edible glitter
Cadbury’s Mini Eggs
Edible lustre spray

Makes 12 brownies

Easter brownie

What to do:
Grease and line a square brownie tin (roughly 10 x 10 inches, but it doesn’t really matter) and pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C (fan oven)/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and pour into a large bowl. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and mix together. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture with a fork in betweeen each one. Add the sieved flour and cocoa powder (actual cocoa, not drinking chocolate), baking powder and salt and mix it all together.

Easter brownies

Pour into the tin and spread evenly using a spatula, then bung in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes. Once the cooking time’s up, remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool completely.

For the topping:
As I mentioned earlier, you can leave the brownies plain, or if you require some comically over-the-top seasonal topping then read on. First, pour a small amount of water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down so that it’s simmering. Break the bar of chocolate into small pieces, drop into a heat-proof bowl and sit the bowl on top of the saucepan, making sure that there’s some distance between the water and the bottom of the bowl. Stir the chocolate until it’s all melted then pour over the cake and spread out evenly with a spatula.

Easter brownies

Then add whatever decorations you require before the chocolate sets. I used citrus-flavoured sugar strands from Dr Oetker, edible glitter, Cadbury’s Mini Eggs (which I smashed up in a bag with a rolling pin), and edible lustre spray.

Here on London Baking, I do like a tenuous link, so in honour of my smashed up Mini Eggs, here’s Smash it Up by The Damned. Happy Easter!