Three sweet recipes from the TV chef to try this Christmas
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 mins Serves: 10/12
This delicious, zingy, spicy festive cake will be the showstopper dessert at the table this season. If you’re more organised, you could prepare the curd in advance and feel free to put your own twist on it by swapping out oranges for lemons.
12 eggs, separated
1 tsp cream of tartar
100g icing sugar
Zest of 2 large oranges
200g plain flour, sifted
275g caster sugar
For the curd:
Juice 2 large oranges
6 egg yolks
For the buttercream:
3 tbsp cardamom pods
300g butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
500g icing sugar, sifted
Juice 2 oranges
Edible gold decorations
1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line the base of three 20cm sandwich tins with parchment and arrange on baking trays.
2. Holding back 6 of the egg yolks from separating, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar in a freestanding mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the icing sugar while the mixer is still on.
3. Very gently fold the flour and caster through the egg white mixture using a whisk along with the orange zest. Divide the mixture between the tins, smooth out the surface. Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden.
4. To make the curd whisk the orange juice, eggs and sugar together in a medium bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Whisk occasionally for 5-6 minutes until the mixture has thickened. You may need to pass it through a sieve to remove any lumps. Stir through the butter until melted. Set aside the mix to cool completely.
5. While the bases are cooling prepare the buttercream filling by bashing the cardamom in a pestle and mortar, discard the shells and crush the beans until fine. Add this and the rest of the ingredients to a freestanding mixer, beating all the ingredients together until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
6. Spread a third of the buttercream mixture on each sponge layer. Spread the buttercream across two of the sponges, followed by a few tablespoons of the curd, leaving a few centimetres from the edge. Arrange these on top of each other on a cake stand. Top with the final layer and spread the buttercream across the top and around the edges of the cake. Drizzle the remaining curd around the top edge of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Sprinkle with edible gold decorations.
Cook time: 50 mins Makes: 30
My brother and I used to make these with my auntie Erica every year for Christmas. You can poke a hole in the top of them and then string through some ribbon so you can hang them on your Christmas tree. They look really great when the sparkly lights shine through! Do keep an eye on these once they’re on the tree though, in our house they always had a tendency to go missing!
100g of muscovado sugar
150g of butter
1 large free-range egg
350g of plain flour
1 tsp of baking powder
A pinch of salt
1 tbsp of mixed spice
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 pack of foxes fruits or jolly ranchers
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ fan 160°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. In a standalone mixer beat together the sugar and butter. Add in the egg and beat through.
3. Mix through the flour, baking powder, salt, mixed spice and vanilla extract until you have a biscuit dough.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to about 1cm in thickness.
5. Cut out biscuit shapes, place on the lined baking tray, then using a smaller cutter or a small knife cut out the centre of each cookie, arranging these around the tray as well.
6. Crush the sweets using a rolling pin, (they don’t need to be very fine pieces) and arrange them into the centre of the cookie. Place in the oven.
7. Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes. As soon as they come out of the oven, using a straw or end of a piping nozzle, poke out a hole at the top of each cookie. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
8. String through some ribbon and hang on the tree.
Cook Time: 40 mins Makes: 10
You have to try these absolutely delicious cranberry and white chocolate muffins. They make the best of leftover cranberries, but you could also use any other berry you wish. The sweetness of the white chocolate really balances out the sourness of the cranberries… utterly delicious!
100g of butter, melted
200ml of buttermilk
Zest of 1 orange
2 large free-range eggs
150g of caster sugar
250g of self-raising flour
250g of fresh cranberries
200g of white chocolate, roughly chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 175°C/347°F/gas mark 4. Line a muffin tray with paper cases.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the butter, buttermilk, orange zest and set aside.
3. In a standalone mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add in the butter mixture and whisk until combined.
5. Gently fold in the flour until just combined. Stir through the cranberries and white chocolate until combined. Be sure not to over-mix the batter.
6. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and place in the oven to cook for 15-20 minutes until brown on top.
7. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.