Top pastry chef Shane Smith shares recipes for traditional sweet treats and kid-friendly confections that the whole family will love.
For the dough
240ml warm milk
14g dried yeast
400g plain flour
50g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
2 level tsp ground cardamom
55g unsalted butter
Egg wash, for glazing
For the filling
100g unsalted butter
80g soft brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
20g pearl/nibbed sugar (optional) Method
1. Place the warm milk and dried yeast in a bowl and set to one side for 10 minutes.
2. In a kitchen mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the flour, sugar, salt and cardamom.
3. Add the milk and yeast to this and knead until you have a smooth elastic dough (about 5 minutes).
4. Add the butter and mix until the dough is shiny. This can also be done by hand but will take considerably longer.
5. Place this dough in a greased bowl, cover with a kitchen cloth and leave somewhere warm to prove until doubled in size. This all depends on the warmth of your kitchen but could take up to 45/60 minutes.
6. Once risen, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and, using a rolling pin, roll into a rectangle sized 25cm x 45cm (10in x 18in).
7. For the filling, mix the soft butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, and spread this paste onto the dough.
8. Fold the dough in equal thirds, like you would a letter, and re-roll again until it is roughly 20cm x 40cm (8in x 16in).
9. Cut the dough lengthwise into eight strips and twist each strip by holding each end, twisting in opposite directions. Then holding one end, wrap it around two fingers (as if you were wrapping up a cord) and tuck the end underneath.
10. Place these on a lined baking tray, cover with a kitchen cloth and leave somewhere warm to prove until doubled in size. Depending on your kitchen, this may take up to 1 hour.
11. Once proved, gently brush with egg wash (1 medium egg, dash of milk and a pinch of salt).
12. Place in the centre of a preheated oven set at 180°C (160°C fan/350°F/Gas Mark 4) and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
13. Once baked, remove and place on a wire rack to cool.
14. Just before serving, brush with some warm marmalade and finally sprinkle with pearl/nibbed sugar.
For the yellow sponge
175g soft butter
175g caster sugar
140g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
½ tsp baking powder
3 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp yellow food colouring (paste over liquid if possible)
For the red sponge
Same ingredients as above, but using 1tsp red food colouring
Icing sugar, for dusting
Edible gold spray (optional)
1. Grease and line a 23cm (9in) square baking tray.
2. Preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan/350°F/Gas Mark 4).
3. For the yellow sponge, place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat until soft and smooth.
4. Scoop this cake batter into the baking dish, place in the centre of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
5. Remove and allow to cool.
6. Repeat the same process as above for the red sponge, instead adding the red food colouring instead of yellow.
7. Once both sponges are cooled, using a carving knife, barely trim the edges and the top and bottom of the sponge, removing any brown edges and revealing the yellow and red sponge.
8. Place one sponge on top of the other and cut into six equal slices. You will only need two red and two yellow to make one Battenberg so you can freeze the remaining sponge to make at a later date, or you can make a total of three Battenbergs!
9. To assemble, lay a pink sponge and a yellow sponge side by side, brushing the sides with some warm marmalade to stick together. Alternating the colours, place two more sponges on top, using the marmalade again to adhere.
10. I like to place the sponges in the fridge to firm up, as this helps with the next step.
11. Dust your work surface with icing sugar and roll out 400g of the marzipan; you can use the sponge as a guide for how long to roll.
12 Brush the marzipan with some more marmalade and place the assembled Battenberg sponge cake on one end and then carefully roll up.
13. Using a knife, trim off any excess marzipan.
14. With the remaining 100g of marzipan, divide into 11 pieces and roll into balls.
15. To assemble, trim each end to reveal the beautiful design. Using your finger, make 11 small indents in the marzipan on top of the Battenberg and place a ball in each one.
16. For extra sparkle, I like to finish my Simnel Battenberg with edible gold spray - this, of course, is optional, but adds a wow factor!
350g plain sponge
150g cream cheese
Dash of vanilla extract
500g white chocolate
½ tsp yellow food colouring paste
50g dark chocolate
20g orange fondant icing
1. In a mixing bowl, break up the sponge to a fine crumb.
2. Add the cream cheese and vanilla, and mix to form a soft ball.
3. Divide the mixture into 10 equal-sized balls and roll into an oblong shape, then place on a tray and chill for 30 minutes.
4. While these are chilling, melt the white chocolate and add the yellow food colouring paste, and mix. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
5. Using a kitchen fork, dip the chilled cake into the chocolate, tapping to remove the excess. Position sitting upright on a lined tray.
6. To finish decorating, add a wing on either side with the white chocolate.
7. Use two small dots of the melted dark chocolate to resemble eyes.
8. Taking the orange fondant icing, cut out tiny feet, a beak and a comb for the top of the chick's head. Use the white chocolate as glue to adhere these on.
9. These can be made in advance and kept in the fridge until needed. They're also great fun to make with the kids over the Easter break.
2 medium eggs
55g caster sugar
Dash of vanilla extract
50ml Irish whiskey
200ml single cream
6 hot cross buns
150g soft butter
200g marmalade jam
Semi-whipped cream (optional), to serve
1. Like any bread and butter pudding, it's best to use old bread, and the same applies with the hot cross buns.
2. For the custard, whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla and whiskey together.
3. Heat the milk and the cream gently and then pour this over the egg mixture, whisking to combine. Strain and set aside.
4. Cut the hot cross buns in half like you would when toasting.
5. Spread both sides with butter and marmalade.
6. Place the six bottom halves in your ovenproof serving dish and pour over half the warm custard.
7. Place the tops on the buns and pour over the remaining custard.
8. Press the buns down into the custard to submerge and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
9. Preheat your oven to 170°C (150°C fan/325°F/Gas Mark 3).
10. Once the buns are soaked, carefully place your serving dish in a large, deep baking tray in the centre of the oven.
11. Fill this baking tray with water until it comes halfway up the side of the dish: this will bake bain-marie style for 35-40 minutes.
12. The pudding will have a slight wobble at this point; carefully remove it from the water and set aside.
13. This is best served warm with a spoonful of semi-whipped cream.