Wednesday 20 November 2019

Sweet and tempting... recipes from The Primrose Bakery

The candy may be for the trick or treaters, but why not make yourself something nice to eat with these new recipes from The Primrose Bakery

Primose bakery's Pineapple upside down slice
Primose bakery's Pineapple upside down slice
Primose Bakery: Gluten-free Black Forest cake
Primrose Bakery Everyday by Martha Swift.

Martha Swift, co-founder of The Primrose Bakery — London’s original cupcake destination — says that baking is not just about following the recipe correctly, but that with quality ingredients comes improved taste.

“I always recommend that you buy the best ingredients you can afford,” she writes in her fifth cookery book, Primrose Bakery Everyday. “— baking doesn’t usually involve too many different ingredients, so if you can buy the best quality ones, it makes a real difference. The key ingredients I would recommend spending a bit more money on, if possible, are free-range or organic eggs, a high-quality vanilla extract and unsalted butter. Before you start to prepare any of these recipes, it is usually beneficial to have all the ingredients at room temperature. So maybe just take the butter, eggs and milk out of the fridge while you get everything else ready.

“If you do want to invest in some specialist culinary equipment, I would suggest a sugar thermometer and a cook’s blowtorch, both of which we use in some of our recipes. These are not absolutely essential, just something you may want to consider buying.”

Pineapple upside-down slice

I have always loved upside-down cake, with its fruit and caramel-like texture and pretty appearance, and it works well as a slice, as we have done here. Makes one 33x23cm tray.  Serves 15

You will need

For the base:

12 tinned pineapple slices, drained (reserve the juice)

150ml pineapple juice (from the tins)

200g light brown sugar

For the sponge:

150g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

150g unsalted butter, at room temperature

150g light brown sugar

3 large eggs

60ml sour cream


Lightly grease a 33x23cm baking tray and line with parchment paper. Drain the pineapple slices and reserve juice from the tins.

Measure out 150ml of pineapple juice and pour into a small pan, then stir in the brown sugar. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and allow the mixture to simmer until it takes on a thick syrup-like consistency. This will take 3-5 minutes. Pour the syrup into the prepared tray, making sure it covers the bottom of the tray. Arrange the pineapple slices neatly in the syrup. Set aside while you prepare the sponge.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C (fan)/350°F/gas mark 4. Combine the flour and baking powder and set aside.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each one is well incorporated before adding the next. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.

Finally, add the sour cream and beat until thoroughly incorporated.

Spoon the batter on top of the pineapple slice in the baking tray and spread it out evenly.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown on top and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the baking tray, then turn out onto a serving plate, pineapple side up, and peel off the parchment paper. Cut the slice into squares, or as desired.

It might be nice to make the squares roughly the same size as the pineapple rings so you have a pineapple ring in the middle of each square.

Gluten-free Black Forest cake

This gluten-free version of the classic Black Forest cake was created by our head chef Daniel. It has a light, moist texture, which complements the chocolate and cherry flavours nicely.

Makes one 20cm triple-layer cake.

Serves 10-12

You will need

For the chocolate sponge:

9 large eggs

275g light brown sugar

120g cocoa powder

Cherry juice or cherry liqueur, for soaking the sponges.

For the black cherry compote:

1 x 410g tin pitted black cherries (in juice)

2 tsp cornflour

2 tbsp water

For the Italian buttercream:

300g granulated sugar

5 tbsp water

3 egg whites

1 tsp vanilla extract

400g unsalted butter, cut into cubes and softened

Dark chocolate shavings, to decorate


Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C (fan)/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease three 20cm-sandwich tins and line with parchment paper. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add the cocoa powder and mix until it is all incorporated.

In a separate bowl and using a clean beater, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold a quarter of the whisked egg whites into the batter, to loosen it. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold through until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix as it will knock out the air from the egg whites.

Divide the batter between the three sandwich tins and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave the cakes to cool in their tins. They will shrink slightly and come away from the edge of the tins. If any of the cakes are domed, trim the tops to ensure a flat surface for stacking. Make several holes in the cooled sponge with a skewer, then brush some of the cherry juice or liqueur over the top of the cakes. Repeat two or three times, until all the juice or liqueur is used up.

To make the compote, place the cherries and their juice in a pan and bring to the boil. In a small bowl, mix the cornflour with the cold water, then pour into the pan of boiling cherries, stirring continuously to combine. Turn the heat down to medium and continue stirring until the mixture thickens and reaches a thick compote consistency. Pour into a heatproof bowl and leave to cool.

To make the buttercream, pour the sugar and water into a pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil without stirring. Allow to boil for 3-5 minutes until a thick syrup forms. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites in a clean metal bowl until stiff peaks form. With the mixer on a low or medium speed, slowly pour the syrup in a thin stream into the egg whites until it is all used up. Then add the vanilla extract and continue whisking until cool.

Once the mixture has cooled, continue whisking and add the butter a cube at a time until it is all incorporated. The buttercream should be smooth and thick with a consistency similar to whipped cream.

To assemble, take a third of the buttercream and place in a separate bowl. Add two heaped tablespoons of the black cherry compote and gently fold it in.

Place the first cake on a cake board or serving plate and spread half of the plain buttercream on top, followed by some black cherry compote.

Gently place the second cake on top and spread the cherry-coloured buttercream over the top. Then place the third cake on top and spread the remaining plain buttercream over the top. Pour any remaining black cherry compote on top of the icing and sprinkle dark chocolate shavings around it.

Irish Independent

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