Category Archives: Sweet Treat

No Churn Black Sesame Ice Cream

Inspired by Nadiya Hussain’s rhubarb ripple ice cream that she made last week on her British Food Adventure, I am fuelling my obsession with black sesame and I’m sharing my recipe for my No Churn Black Sesame Ice Cream.

The black sesame ice cream has this wonderful charcoal grey colour which I think is so visually pleasing and attractive. What’s more, you certainly don’t expect the nutty, bitter and smoky flavour of black sesame to come from this grey coloured ice cream and it’s that flavour which lingers after an initial hit of creamy sweetness.

Both Nigella and Mary as well as Nadiya have also demonstrated this no churn ice cream method on their shows and it really is so simple. Instead of using a crème anglaise base for the ice cream, double cream and condensed milk remove all the hard work of making custard and using an ice cream maker.

Condensed milk contains most of the sugar you need and because it is condensed, the moisture from the milk has been evaporated giving a creamy ice cream that doesn’t contain large ice crystals which would be good for a sorbet or a granita. Whipped double cream makes the ideal ice cream texture which is light and takes away the churning process. Golden syrup, or liquid glucose, reduces the firmness of the ice cream when set and I like to add evaporated milk for a similar reason.

If you cannot find any black sesame powder, you can make it yourself very easily – and remember it is very versatile! Buy a whole load of black sesame seeds and toast them over a medium heat in a dry pan until they are fragrant and then grind them in a food processor or blender until a fine and slightly damp powder forms. Put into a zip lock bag or an airtight container in the fridge and discard when the powder begins to lose its freshness.

Make sure to also check out my Dark Chocolate and Black Sesame Biscuits!


300ml double cream

225g condensed milk

50ml evaporated milk

4 tsp golden syrup (or liquid glucose)

50g black sesame powder

3 tsp black sesame seeds, plus extra to sprinkle


Pour all of the ingredients except for the black sesame seeds into a large bowl and whisk until it has increased in volume and become thick but does not hold soft peaks. Scrape down the bowl using a spatula and fold through the black sesame seeds.

Transfer to a plastic container, scraping down the bowl completely – don’t waste any of that black sesame goodness!! Sprinkle more black sesame seeds over the top and then put the lid on the container.

Place the container into a bag – I recommend using one that you can get at the fruit/veg section in the supermarket – and then freeze for around 6 hours or until the ice cream has set and is firm.

Serve the ice cream either in a waffle cone or in a bowl. Finish the ice cream by sprinkling over some toasted black sesame seeds.

 

Dark Chocolate and Black Sesame Biscuits

Black sesame is an ingredient commonly used in many Chinese desserts such as black sesame soup called ji ma wu (a type of tong sui, or sweet soup – I’ve got a recipe for one here!) or as a filling for mochi or tong yuen which are glutinous rice balls.

In the UK however, black sesame is much less commonly used in comparison to its white sesame counterpart and yet they are arguably more interesting an ingredient!

For a long time, black sesame was reserved only for decorating breads or to sprinkle over savoury dishes to make them more attractive and trendy-looking but as the Western world begins to become more greatly influenced by Asian cultures, black sesame has found itself becoming an ingredient found much more frequently in recipes where the black sesame is a main ingredient and not just a garnish.

You might find maverick chefs, patissiers and chocolatiers using black sesame in their tuiles, biscuits, chocolates and cakes – and that includes Iain from Bake Off who made black sesame ice cream (and threw it in the bin)! Its colour as well as its flavour is certainly what has made black sesame such an attractive ingredient; the distinctive grey colour it produces is rather wonderful and tastes completely different to how it looks! You can find my No Churn Black Sesame Ice Cream recipe by clicking on the name!

Black sesame has a bitter, nuttier and smokier flavour compared to white sesame which are basically the same except black sesame does not have its outer hulls removed. This minute difference in the flavour means that black sesame is much more exciting an ingredient and what makes it so tasty too.

You’ll often black sesame being paired together with matcha green tea or dark chocolate as in today’s recipe for Black Sesame and Dark Chocolate Biscuits.

This follows a basic sugar cookie recipe which I finally have perfected after trying numerous recipes. If you wanted to make a basic plain cookie, simply omit the black sesame and the dark chocolate and up the sugar by 10g. You can also find my Funfetti Sugar Cookies too by clicking here. You might also want to check out my Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies, White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies and my Coffee and Vanilla Striped Biscuits! 


85g margarine

90g granulated sugar

1 egg

190g plain flour

10g black sesame seeds, plus extra to decorate

20g dark chocolate, finely grated


In a large bowl, cream together the margarine with the sugar until it is lighter in colour and the sugar has dissolved and is smooth. Add in the egg and beat well. Add in the plain flour, the black sesame seeds and the grated dark chocolate and fold through until it forms a pliable but not sticky dough.

Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 2 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line 2 baking trays with parchment.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the biscuit dough to 0.5cm thick, lifting up from the surface every so often so it doesn’t stick. Using a lightly floured 4cm cutter, cut out rounds of the biscuit dough and place on the lined baking tray, rerolling the offcuts no more than twice; these biscuits do not spread but will bake more evenly with space left between them for air to circulate.

Place 1 black sesame seed in the centre of each biscuit, pressing down lightly so it is embedded.

Bake the biscuits in the oven for around 11 minutes or until the edges have turned golden. Leave the biscuits on the baking tray to cool for 15 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool fully.

Chinese Coconut Milk Pudding (椰汁糕)

One of my favourite sweet dim sum to have at yum cha is 椰汁糕 or Coconut Milk Pudding. It’s a very light little morsel of coconutty goodness and is also wonderfully refreshing but doesn’t require a lot of effort to make yourself at home either!

To get the correct balance of coconut flavour, I use an almost one to one ratio of coconut milk to whole milk; using too much coconut milk can make it very overpowering. Most tins of coconut milk are also sold in 400ml tins so you don’t have to worry about having any leftover. One tip is to use a chopstick or a fork to give the contents of the tin a mix before pouring into the saucepan as the coconut milk usually separates into water and the coconut cream and if the pudding mixture is not well mixed, it tends to separate out later on.

I prefer using gelatine powder as opposed to the sheets which all the chefs seems to use on TV. I find using the weight of a powder is much easier to control the set of the pudding and it’s also much cheaper too; I stocked up on gelatine powder when I went to Hong Kong however it can be easily found online.

150ml boiling water

20g gelatine powder

1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk

350ml whole milk

½ tsp vanilla extract

100g granulated sugar

Dissolve the gelatine powder in the boiling water, stirring until completely lump free. Set aside.

In a saucepan over a medium heat, stir together the coconut milk, whole milk, vanilla extract and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Then add in the gelatin mixture and stir again to dissolve.

Strain the mixture into a deep rectangular or square plastic container and leave to cool for 30 minutes before covering and refrigerating for 4 hours or until it is set; it should have a firm wobble and come away from the edges cleanly when you pull the pudding away.

To serve the pudding, flip out the pudding onto a chopping board and use a knife to slice into even cubes.

Giant Victoria Sponge Donut Cake

Here’s a great way of reinventing the classic Victoria sponge into a showstopper of a cake, this is my Giant Victoria Sponge Donut Cake.

I bought my giant donut mould from Lakeland when it was on offer for £2.50. I don’t often bake with silicon moulds but I enjoyed making this donut cake; greasing the moulds made the cakes turn out really easily and I loved how the cakes looked after they were turned out with the golden brown rings on the base.

The donut mould comes with a lid that you can put on one half so that the cake is baked with a slight hollow so you can fill it like a donut; unlike my Victoria Sponge donut, the filling is instead concealed giving it a more authentic doughnut look but I prefer having the filling exposed, it looks much more inviting to me! And even if you can’t find this exact mould, any savarin-shaped mould will do. Make sure that the inside is well greased and you may want to flour it too to extra ensure it turns out.

This cake went down a huge storm with the teachers at school who requested a cake from me. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a picture of a slice but when you get an empty cake stand brought home, you know it must have been good!


225g margarine

225g granulated sugar

4 eggs

225g self raising flour

1 tbsp whole milk

75g raspberry jam, sieved

300ml double cream

50g granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

80g icing sugar

Red food colouring

Sprinkles, to decorate


Preheat the oven to 170˚C. Grease two 21cm silicon donut moulds well and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine with the granulated sugar until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one, scraping down the bowl with a spatula after each addition. Add in the self raising flour and fold through until incorporated. Then beat in the tablespoon of milk until mixed through.

Divide the cake batter evenly between the 2 donut moulds and use the back of a spoon to level the surface. Bake the donut cakes for around 25 – 30 minutes until the cake is golden brown, coming away from the edges and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool in the mould for 10 minutes before peeling away the mould and leaving to cool fully on a cooling rack.

In another bowl, whisk the double cream with the sugar and vanilla extract until it holds a thick but soft peak. Then transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble.

Prepare the icing by mixing together the icing sugar with enough milk to form an icing that is thick enough to stay on the cake but not too thin that it runs off the cake straight away. Add a drop of red food colouring to make a baby pink colour.

Place one donut half on your serving stand and use a serrated knife to level off the top if necessary. Spread the sieved jam over this top half, making sure it doesn’t go over the edge. Carefully pipe over the whipped cream in a swirl pattern, filling in any gaps after. Sprinkle over a few pink pearl sprinkles and then place the other sponge on top the right way up.

Then spread the pink icing over the top of the sponge, covering the entire surface and allowing it to drip down the sides slightly. Before the icing sets, sprinkle over some rainbow sprinkles and leave the icing to set before slicing to serve.

Foolproof Funfetti Icebox Sugar Cookies

I’ve said before that I find making cookies where you roll out and cut out cookie shapes not enjoyable. The cookies would usually end up tough and rather bland however after a lot of experimenting and sugar cookie baking, I’ve managed to get a recipe which produces perfect sugar cookies. These are my Foolproof Funfetti Icebox Sugar Cookies!

The perfect cookie is crisp around the edges and soft and chewy in the centre but the addition of rainbow sprinkles add not only a massive pop of colour but a tiny amount of texture which adds a lot of interest to a standard sugar cookie recipe.

I eliminate the chance of overworking the dough when you roll it out by hand by following an icebox cookie method. If you’ve not heard of an icebox cookie, you might actually be familiar with the method and some cookies which use it; checkerboard cookies, pinwheel cookies and striped cookies all use the icebox method.

The cookie dough is shaped into a log and chilled to firm it up which allows it to be sliced into shapes which give consistency across a batch of cookies. Icebox cookies tend to be smaller than your average chocolate chip cookie so the yield per batch is much higher than most other recipes. I averaged around 60 cookies per batch.

Icebox cookies have a further benefit in that the cookie dough can be made ahead and frozen and after time defrosting in the fridge, it can be used as normal. Just make sure that it is wrapped tightly in clingfilm so it doesn’t suffer from freezer burn.

Check out my other cookie recipes by clicking on the names:


170g margarine

200g granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

355g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

80g rainbow vermicelli sprinkles, plus 50g for the outside of the cookies


In a large bowl, cream together the margarine with the sugar until it is lighter in colour and the sugar has dissolved and is smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Mix through the vanilla extract.

Sift in the plain flour and baking powder and using a rubber spatula, fold through the dry ingredients. Before the mixture comes together into dough, add in the rainbow sprinkles and continue to mix until a pliable dough forms.

Fill a baking tin with the extra rainbow sprinkles. Divide the dough into 4 and on a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a log. Roll the log gently in the tin of sprinkles until the outside of the log is well covered. Lay out sheets of clingfilm and roll up the logs in clingfilm well. Shape the cookie dough into a cuboid shape and repeat for the rest of the dough. Chill for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Using a sharp knife and a single downward motion, slice off pieces of the cookie dough ¼ of an inch thick and arrange on the baking tray, leaving room for spreading.

Bake the cookies for 9 – 11 minutes, or until the cookies have spread and are ever so slightly tinged golden around the edges. Leave the cookies to cool on the tray for 15 minutes before carefully lifting off the tray and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

White Chocolate Cheesecake Easter Eggs

You might not be left with many Easter eggs by the end of this Easter weekend however I beg you to save a few of them to make my White Chocolate Cheesecake-filled Easter Eggs; you’ll finish them even quicker than the Easter egg itself!

My choice of egg are the eggs that you might use for an Easter egg hunt so maybe persuade the young ones to hand over a few to make these cheesecake eggs. The eggs I used were from Co-op which I received as part of their #GoodEgg campaign. (I have not been asked to promote the Co-op or their product, I am stating where the eggs are from so that you can see what I am working with for reference, other supermarkets may have similar products available in their stores).

Slicing the eggs in half is very tricky and getting perfectly shaped halves was rare, as you can see! Hence you will need more than 6 eggs because some of them will crack in an odd place rendering them unusable. But reserve the broken pieces as they go brilliantly inside the cheesecake mixture! The quantity of cheesecake is enough to fill 12 half eggs as well as half of a large Easter egg or 2 large halves. The cheesecake recipe is adapted from the fantastic Becky over at https://biscuitbases.wordpress.com.


12 x 17g hollow milk chocolate Easter eggs, plus one half of a large hollow Easter egg or 1 large hollow Easter egg

100g white chocolate

200g cream cheese, at room temperature

25g icing sugar, sifted

175ml double cream


Use a serrated knife to halve the Easter eggs as best as you can and place one in each cavity of a 12 hole bun tin. Keep any broken pieces that fall off in a small bowl and break them up into small pieces.

Break the white chocolate into chunks and place into a microwaveable bowl. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds and then in 20 second intervals until fully melted, stirring between each interval.

Working quickly, soften the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Add in the sifted icing sugar and beat in until smooth. Add in the melted chocolate and fold through until even. Then mix through the reserved Easter egg pieces.

Whisk the double cream until it holds a soft but thick peak; do not overwhip or it will split. Fold the whipped cream through the cheesecake mixture. It should be relatively thick and hold its shape.

Fill the hollow egg halves with the cheesecake mixture. You can do this with just a spoon or you can use a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle however the chocolate pieces can block up the nozzle. Place into the fridge for 2 hours to set the cheesecake mixture for the small eggs and 4 hours for the large eggs.

Finish with a few sprinkles and mini eggs and transfer the eggs into a paper case.

Giant Homemade Jaffa Cake

We were all transfixed to The Great British Bake Off when Mary set them the challenge of making 12 Jaffa cakes. Whether it was making sure the cakes weren’t stuck to the tin or putting on the jelly the right way up, there were a lot of hurdles to overcome. I even tried them myself in a 90 minute time limit with varying degrees of success. But I’m giving it another go, this time without a 90 minute time limit but also making a giant version; this is my (edited) Giant Jaffa Cake recipe!

Mary’s recipe calls for a whisked sponge, which is practically impossible for me in my uni kitchen since I don’t even have an electric whisk! All of my bakes have been made completely by hand, from my Crystallised Stem Ginger Cookies to Red Velvet Hazelnut Biscotti. And while I’m happy to whisk up a 1 egg white meringue, I don’t fancy whisking 3 eggs with sugar by hand until the ribbon stage so I use a basic sponge recipe for this cake.

The relatively small amount of water used to make the jelly means it has a relatively firm set, ideal for slicing up when serving the cake as well as transferring on top of the cake. I didn’t get it dead centre the first time but I found that the set of the jelly meant it was fairly forgiving when it needed moving.


1 x 135g pack of orange jelly

200ml boiling water

125g margarine

125g granulated sugar

2 eggs

140g self raising flour

Zest and juice of 1/2 an orange

140g dark chocolate

30g margarine

2 tbsp runny honey

12 Jaffa cakes, halved


Line a 18cm sandwich tin with a few layers of clingfilm, making them as smooth as possible with some overhang.

Cut up the pack of jelly into cubes and place into a heatproof jug. Pour over the boiling water and stir until the jelly has dissolved. Place the sandwich tin into the fridge and then pour in the orange jelly and refrigerate for around 2 hours. When you are ready to bake, remove the tin from the fridge so the jelly comes to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 170˚C. Grease and line the base of a 23cm springform tin.

In a bowl, cream together the margarine, the sugar and orange zest until it is light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one by one beating well between each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl between mixing. Sift in the self raising flour and baking powder and using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Lastly mix through the orange juice until the cake batter is smooth and even.

Transfer the mixture into the tin, using the back of the spatula to get the surface as level as possible. Bake the cake for around 20 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown, risen, springs back to the touch and an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cool, level off the top of the cake using a serrated knife to get a smooth top. When the cake is cool and the jelly has set, flip the jelly onto the centre of the cake.

Prepare the chocolate glaze by breaking up the dark chocolate into a microwaveable bowl and add the margarine and honey. Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring between each one until the chocolate glaze is smooth and very shiny. Leave to cool slightly for 5 minutes.

Now working quickly, use a palette knife to spread the glaze over the cake and jelly, covering the jelly and the visible top of the cake to get that distinctive Jaffa Cake shape. Then before the glaze sets, place the halved Jaffa cakes on top of the jelly, arranging them in an overlapping circle. Leave the glaze to set at room temperature.