Tag Archives: food

Making a Semi-Naked Cake (without measuring any ingredients)

Baking is a science. It’s the process of combining exact quantities of ingredients in a certain way to undergo chemical reactions in the oven. A slight deviation in the quantity of ingredients could drastically alter the outcome of your bake. But is it possible to make a cake without weighing or measuring a single ingredient? I decided to find out.

This idea came about because I forgot to bring my digital scales with me to uni and I still wanted to bake. Now that I have acquired a set of scales, I thought that I could track how accurate my weighing/guessing was by checking the weight of the ingredients that went into the sponge – and for clarity, this was the sole purpose of the scales, to show you and myself whether in my 9 years of baking, I knew what 225g of sugar looked like!

I vlogged the process of making and assembling this cake and you can watch the video here! Find out how I got on with the weighing too!

Continue reading to see the full recipe and method!

I decorated the cake in a semi-naked style. Semi-naked cakes have grown in popularity in recent years, demonstrating skill with buttercream and an eye for artistry. Elegant in its sleek and straight design, the semi naked cake has a thin layer of buttercream around the outside of the cake filling in any gaps between layers, exposing just a small amount of the edge of the sponge, tempting you in and creating an attractive neat finish.

The buttercream for your semi-naked cake needs to be softer than your standard cake in order for it to become smooth without dragging cake crumbs into the frosting which would ruin the look. Using a straight-edged tool such as a dough scraper will help you achieve the crisp straight edges of your semi-naked cake. I was actively reading Becky’s post on making a naked cake and it was so helpful – check it out here!!

For the sponge:

225g margarine

225g granulated sugar

225g self raising flour

4 eggs

1 tbsp milk

For the filling:

150g strawberry jam

1 tsp boiling water

For the buttercream:

175g margarine or soft unsalted butter

380g icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Purple food colouring

Pearl sprinkles, to decorate

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line the bases of 3 x 18cm sandwich tins. 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 mixture evenly between the 3 tins and level out the surface. Bake the cakes for around 16 – 18 minutes until the cakes are golden brown, risen and spring back when touched lightly. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool fully.

In a small bowl, mix together the jam with the water to loosen slightly. For the buttercream, beat the margarine or unsalted butter for a minute to soften. Add in the icing sugar in 2 batches, beating well until it is light, even and spreadable. Add in the vanilla extract and a tiny amount of purple food colouring to make the buttercream paler.

Level off the tops of all 3 sponges. Place the first sponge layer on your serving board or cake stand and spread over a third of the jam. Take about a quarter of the buttercream and spread over the jam, being careful not to mix the two together. Leave a 1cm border around the edge.

Place the next sponge layer on top, pushing down lightly and repeat the filling process for the next layer, topping with the final sponge. Take the remaining buttercream and cover the tops and sides with buttercream, starting with the sides and filling in any gaps between the layers.

Spread the buttercream around the sides and working in the same direction, take a dough scraper and run the edge around the sides of the cake multiple times to create the smooth polished sides of a semi-naked cake. You want the sponge layers to be peeping through the thin buttercream layer and then to smooth out the top as much as possible (but this is going to be covered in jam). Transfer the remaining buttercream to a piping bag.

Pipe a border of small dots of buttercream around the top edge of the cake. Use the pearl sprinkles to create a repeated pattern inside of the dots. Then create a hexagonal pattern in the very centre of the cake. Flood the remaining exposed buttercream with the leftover jam.

Lastly finish the cake with a few drop ribbons. Touch the end of the bag underneath one buttercream dot and exert pressure on the bag to release buttercream. Continue to exert pressure and as the buttercream comes out, move backwards and along in a semi-circle motion and attaching the buttercream to underneath 4 or 5 dots along the cake and releasing the pressure. The buttercream should naturally drape in an arc and be suspended.

Leave the cake to ‘set’ at room temperature for about an hour before chilling for another hour and then slicing and serving.

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Salted Caramel White Chocolate and Lemon Savarin

It was Caramel Week on Bake Off and I chose to make a large version of my Salted Caramel, White Chocolate and Lemon Savarins which I made last year when the Bake Off Technical challenge was a savarin.

We saw the bakers struggle with making the caramel for the stroopwafel technical with all of their caramels turning out grainy. However my salted caramel has never come out grainy and the sugar has never crystallised and this is due to the addition of margarine or fat at the right stage; fat inhibits the process of crystallisation so by adding a small amount as the water evaporates, you stop the sugar from being able to crystallise, meaning you can forget about thermometers and brushing down the sides of the pan.

I find that using your eyes and ears to be the best tools for making caramel; the sound and colour of the sugar is often a good indicator when to add ingredients for the salted caramel!

Dusting the mould with the sugar after greasing creates this fantastic dark crackly crust on the savarins and helps to prevent it from sticking to the inside of the silicone doughnut mould, which gives the fantastic shape of the savarin. It’s easy to peel away too when you need to turn it out which is an added bonus! I have used this same mould to create a Giant Victoria Sponge Donut Cake too so click on the name to check it out!

I made this bake to take along to The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice and I thought I was in with a good chance of having it tasted by the panel but alas the producers thought otherwise! This means that you’re going to have to make it and let me know how it tastes!!

For the savarin dough

300g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

50g granulated sugar, plus extra for dusting

4g salt

1 x 7g sachets of fast action dried yeast

Zest of ½ lemon

2 egg

60g margarine, melted

About 90ml warm milk

For the lemon syrup

120g granulated sugar

75ml boiling water

Zest of a lemon

30ml lemon juice

For the salted caramel

125g granulated sugar

70ml water

20g margarine

150ml double cream

½ tsp table salt

For decoration

50g white chocolate

In the bowl of a free standing mixer, add in the flour. Place the sugar and salt on one of the bowl and add the yeast to the other side of the bowl to avoid retarding the yeast. Add in the lemon zest and on the lowest speed with the dough hook attachment, mix to combine.

While the mixer is running, add in the 2 eggs. Whisk the melted margarine with the milk and then pour it all into the stand mixer. Turn the speed to medium to combine all the ingredients into a dough before switching up to medium high and leaving to knead for about 6 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and then turn out the dough onto a floured surface.

Roll the dough to coat in flour and then knead for a further 2 minutes by hand until the dough is smooth and soft but not sticky. The dough has been kneaded enough when the dough springs back fully when a floured finger is inserted. Transfer to a lightly floured bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for around 75 – 90 minutes or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile prepare the salted caramel. In a clean saucepan, stir together the granulated sugar with the water. Bring the sugar water up to a boil, stirring occasionally. The contents of the pan should be bubbling rapidly and loudly. At this point, add in the margarine and swirl the pan to melt. Allow the sugar to continue to boil and turn to caramel.

When the caramel is a deep amber colour, pour in all of the double cream and carefully use a wooden spoon to mix until the cream has emulsified. Return to the heat for 30 seconds stirring before adding in the salt and transferring to a heatproof bowl to cool. It should be fairly fluid and not too thick as it will thicken upon setting. Leave to cool.

Grease thoroughly one half of a 21cm silicone doughnut mould and dust well with granulated sugar, pouring away the excess

Once the dough has proved, lift out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 30 seconds to knock the air out. Take the dough and roll out into a sausage 5cm wide and join up the ends. Roll the ring between your hands to smooth out the join and make the ring equal in width. You may need to push the dough down to flatten the top slightly. Then cover with clingfilm and prove for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake the savarin for around 30 – 35 minutes and testing the doneness is the same; you may wish to cover with foil if the top is getting too dark for your liking.

While the savarin is baking, prepare the lemon syrup. Stir together all of the ingredients for the syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil. The syrup should be fairly runny and not too thick and a light golden colour – around 110°C on a thermometer.

When the savarin has come out of the oven, turn it out onto a cooling rack and pour in enough of the lemon syrup to cover the base of the mould and return the savarin to the mould. Then drizzle over the rest of the syrup over the top and leave to soak and cool for about an hour or so. Then level off the top of the savarin so it has a flat base. Turn upside down onto a cooling rack, so the smooth side is on the bottom.

Place the cooled caramel into a piping bag and drizzle it over the savarin using a forward and backward motion working your way around the ring. Repeat this for the white chocolate and leave to set.

Follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and make sure to check out my other Bake Off recipes too:

Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Mini Rolls inspired by Cake Week

Linzer Sandwich Cookies inspired by Biscuit Week

Classic Sultana and Apricot Teacakes inspired by Bread Week

Classic Sultana and Apricot Teacakes

Teacakes always remind me of my primary school days when me and my mum used to go to the breakfast club before school and have a toasted teacake for 30p. Times have changed and the teacakes in the supermarket just don’t compare to freshly baked homemade teacakes, warm from the oven and with lots of butter on them!


My twist on the classic teacake recipe which usually contains mixed peel or currants is to replace them with dried apricots. Dried apricots add little pockets of sweetness when you bite into them as well as great colour. I always find sultanas and dried apricots to be fairly dry and shrivelled (surprisingly this word didn’t pop up yesterday ahem!) so any time they go into my recipes, I always rehydrate them in boiling water before using.

There’s an added advantage to this step; once the fruit has been plumped up and has been drained, the fruit still retains lots of the heat from the hot water so when it gets incorporated in the dough, it’s hot enough to really give the yeast a good boost but not kill it so the dough rises amazingly when proving – it had doubled in size in around 50 minutes, great considering the dough is heavily enriched with egg, milk and sugar.

When kneading the dough, it should be soft but not sticky. As I always seem to add too much liquid to the dough, I always make sure that I put less flour (around 30-50g) less in the dough in the first instance so that I knead in the remaining flour, making the bread the perfect texture. I also find that keeping a dough scraper or rubber spatula on hand to free the dough from the table is always handy – think of It as your other hand!

Like Stacey did in the show, I brush the teacakes with milk which makes them softer than if I used egg wash. I prefer using milk instead of egg wash, both of which do the same thing; the protein in both the milk and egg undergo the Maillard reaction when baked which is what gives it that attractive golden brown colour. But I always find that egg wash is always wasted and you can’t really use it for anything else but you can control the amount of milk you use.

This recipe makes 10 large teacakes and even after flattening them to 1.5cm before the second prove, they ended up slightly larger than the teacakes you would find in the supermarket – basically they didn’t fit in my toaster 😦 however they were fine when placed under the grill to toast. You could very well make 12.

120g sultanas

100g dried apricots, chopped to the same size as the sultanas

550g strong white flour

50g granulated sugar

1 tsp mixed spice

2 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

6g salt

2 x 7g sachets of fast action dried yeast

1 egg

40g margarine

About 250ml milk

About 100ml boiling water, plus extra to rehydrate the fruits

In a bowl, add the sultanas and chopped dried apricots and cover with boiling water to rehydrate. Set aside until needed.

In a large bowl, place 520g of the strong white flour and add the sugar, spices, salt and yeast, placing the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl so the yeast is not retarded by the salt. Make a well in the centre and add in the egg.

In another bowl, combine together the margarine, milk and 100ml boiling water, stirring to melt the margarine, heating in the microwave briefly if required. Stir well and pour around three quarters of the liquid and use a wooden spoon to stir the ingredients together. Add enough of the liquid to form a soft sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, using the reserved flour to dust.

Drain the rehydrated fruit of its water and set aside.

Knead the dough for around 5-6 minutes by hand until the dough begins to look smooth. Flatten the dough out and place around three-quarters of the rehydrated fruit in the centre – it should feel warm but not too hot to the touch. Fold the dough to cover the fruit and continue to knead the dough for a further 5 minutes, gradually adding in all of the fruit and adding slightly more flour to bring the dough back to the soft not sticky texture from before adding the fruit. Shape the dough into a ball and place into a floured bowl to prove for about an hour or until doubled in size.

When the dough has proved, the inside structure should look something like this (trypophobes look away!!). The structure is irregularly aerated and light too.

Lift out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 30 seconds to dispel large air pockets. Weigh the dough and divide into 10/12 equally (mine were around 120g each for a batch of 10).

To shape, lift and tuck the sides of the dough underneath itself and repeat until the surface looks smooth and the bottom should be rough. Use your hand to flatten the dough down to around 1-1.5cm thick and place onto a baking tray lined with lightly greased baking parchment. Repeat for the remaining teacakes and cover loosely with clingfilm and allow to prove for a further 30 minutes.

Once proved, preheat the oven to 190°C. Brush the surface of the risen teacakes lightly with some milk and then bake the teacakes for around 15 – 17 minutes until the teacakes are a strong rich brown colour, the bases have browned and there is a hollow sound when you tap the bottoms. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

The teacakes are best served sliced in half and warm straight from the oven with a slab of butter but are just as good the next day sliced in half, toasted and again with a slab of butter and even some apricot jam!

Follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and make sure to check out my recipe for Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Mini Rolls inspired by Cake Week and my recipe for Linzer Sandwich Cookies inspired by Biscuit Week!

Giant Linzer Cookie and Linzer Sandwich Cookies

Named after the city of Linz in Austria, Linzertorte is said to be the oldest cake in the world dating back to a Veronese recipe from 1653. Its popularity rose after being taken over to Milwaukee by an Austrian traveller. The linzer cookie is a derivative of the linzertorte made by cutting out shapes of a cookie dough similar to the pastry of the linzertorte, topping with jam and placing another cookie on top with a hole missing to expose the filling like the lattice design on a traditional linzertorte. I love the German translation of the linzer cookie, they are Linzer Augen, literally Linzer Eyes!

Linzertorte pastry is flavoured with lemon zest, cinnamon and ground hazelnuts but this recipe uses ground almonds which are much easier to find and compliment the lemon well. The important step in this recipe is to chill the biscuit dough before rolling out and after cutting out – chilling is required for the dough before rolling as it is impossible to roll this dough out without chilling so this dough can be made in advance; chilling is required after cutting out to help maintain the shape of the linzer cookies so they don’t spread much which could ruin the appearance since the 2 cookie halves must be identical in shape!

One little trick I like to do is add the lemon zest in the creaming process. The friction from the granulated sugar releases the oils in the lemon zest adding much more flavour to the dough and it distributes it much more evenly too!

The filling I use is a good quality strawberry conserve. Of course you can use any other flavour beside strawberry however I like the strong contrast of the jam from the dusted icing sugar on top which is so visually pleasing! Blueberry jam would work fantastically with the lemon and almond flavour in the biscuits and would be a great colour.

So you might see these and think they are very similar to jammy dodgers – they are essentially the same thing! The great thing about the linzer cookies is that you don’t have to stick to the traditional round shape, you can make them into whatever shape you want to suit any occasion – I chose to go for the cupcake shape to keep the baking theme going! Just make sure that you have a smaller cutter to cut out the hole for the top linzer cookie to expose the filling. I think it looks more attractive if the hole is the same shape as the cookie itself but it doesn’t have to be!

I made a Giant Linzer Cookie as well as Linzer Sandwich Cookies and the quantity of dough stated below is enough to make a 10in giant cookie and 7 sandwich cookies and plenty of leftover too. I would make a large batch of this dough and freeze what you don’t use so that it is on hand whenever you need cookie dough however you can just halve the dough if you want.

Make sure to also check out my other biscuit recipes like my Dark Chocolate and Black Sesame Biscuits, my Homemade Custard Creams and my Gingerbread Oven Showstopper!

250g margarine

250g granulated sugar

Zest of 1 large lemon

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

500g plain flour

300g ground almonds

2 tsp baking powder

200g good quality strawberry conserve

Icing sugar, to dust

For the cookie dough, cream together the margarine with the sugar and lemon zest until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract and egg until combined. Sift in the flour and baking powder and add in the ground almonds and use a spatula to fold in the dry ingredients until a soft but not sticky dough forms. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a disc and wrap in clingfilm and chill for 90 minutes or even overnight.

Preheat the oven to 160˚C. Line some baking trays with baking parchment.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the cookie dough to 5mm thickness, rotating the dough every so often so it doesn’t stick to the surface.

For the Giant Linzer Cookie:

Remove the base from a 10in loose bottomed fluted tart tin. Use the tart tin to cut out a disc of the linzer cookie dough. Slide the base of the tin under the cookie and move to the lined baking tray. Refrigerate for 15 minutes meanwhile repeat the same process to cut out a second disc. On one disc, use a large shaped cutter to remove some dough for the hole in the centre of the top cookie – this cookie can act as the base for one sandwich cookie! I like to take the centres from the Linzer Sandwich Cookies and place them on top to continue the theme.

Bake the base linzer cookie for around 14 – 16 minutes until the cookie is golden brown on the surface and around the edges and feels set. Leave the cookie to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before carefully transporting to a cooling rack.

Bake the top linzer cookie for around 12 minutes until it is golden brown and set. While the cookie is still warm, take the same cutter you used for the hole and press again to remove any excess dough from where the cookie spread in the oven. Leave the cookie to cool on the tray completely. Once cool, dust lightly with icing sugar. [Excuse the slight crack, that was me trying to move it to the cooling rack]

To fill, turn the base of the Giant Cookie over on your serving dish or cake stand and spread over a good generous layer of the conserve, leaving a slight border. Then place the dusted top cookie on the base to make a Giant Linzer Cookie.


For the Linzer Sandwich Cookie:

Use your desired cookie cutter to cut out as many shapes from the rolled out dough as possible and place on the baking tray. Then cut out the shape of your hole on half of the cookies while on the tray (you won’t distort the shape when transporting them!). Reroll any of the offcuts no more than twice.

Chill the cookies for 15 minutes before baking the bases for 12-14 minutes and the tops for 10-12 minutes until golden brown around the edges and they feel set. Leave to cool on the trays completely. Dust the tops completely with icing sugar.

To fill the cookies, turn the bases of the cookies over and spread over a good generous layer of jam, leaving a slight border around the edge. Then take one of the dusted top cookies and sandwich together to make a Linzer Sandwich Cookie.

Follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and make sure to check out my latest recipe post inspired by The Great British Bake Off for Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Mini Rolls!

Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Mini Rolls

Last night we watched the first episode of The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4 with Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding and Prue Leith. Prue set her first Technical Challenge of the series and did she choose a cracker (not literally a cracker, it was Cake Week after all)! She chose the kids party favourite, Mini Rolls!

The best selling brand has a chocolate sponge wrapped around a vanilla flavoured cream and covered in chocolate – I’ve had many of these in my time – and Prue’s had a peppermint filling! I decided to add my own twist to the best selling brand and Prue’s technical challenge by having a striking pink sponge inside to add contrast of colour; this sponge has a layer of strawberry jam as well as whipped cream and is coated in a dark chocolate glaze which has a crack when you bite into it and offsets the sweet inside.

These are my Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Mini Rolls.

The sponge I use is a genoise sponge as opposed to the flourless sponge which Prue used. The sponge is coloured pink with liquid red food colouring which I incorporate in the whisking of the eggs and sugar. Because I want the sponge to be fairly thin so that I can roll it up without it cracking, I do not want it to rise significantly so I use plain flour as opposed to self raising flour which could make it too thick if it rose.

The only raising agent in this genoise sponge is the whisking of the eggs and sugar. Recipes will often call for the eggs and sugar to be taken to ribbon stage. This means that you will be able to draw a figure of eight using one of the beaters and the 8-shape disappears after a couple of seconds. The flour is then sifted over the sponge and I prefer to sift an even layer across the whole surface of the mixture as I have found it incorporates faster. When folding, unlike what you may have been told, it is essential to work quickly and with some power – the batter begins to deflate as soon as the flour has been added and you want to preserve the air and working faster does this.

Genoise sponges are not a fatless sponge, the sponge most commonly used for Swiss rolls. Because of the size of the mini rolls and the fact that the sponge layer is much thinner than your normal Swiss roll, the addition of melted butter or margarine prevents the sponge from drying out.

The best way to incorporate the melted fat is to take a portion of the batter after you have folded through your flour, add it to the melted fat, beat to combine before folding the 2 batters together. This method is preferred over simply adding the fat into the batter since the fat is of a different consistency to the cake batter and it will take longer to mix the two together evenly and you will rapidly deflate the batter upon adding the melted fat.

When it comes to filling the Mini Rolls, it is important not to overfill. Spread the cream all the way to the edge but leave a 1cm gap at the end so that the cream gets pushed there when you roll it up and the cream won’t come out at the end. The glaze is not just chocolate but rather a doughnut-style chocolate glaze which sets hard and will give that signature crack.

My tin of choice is a large straight sided roasting tin which measures 14in by 10in. If you don’t have a tin this size, use a similarly sized tin or any Swiss roll tin will do.

For the Genoise sponge:

2 eggs

55g golden granulated sugar

¼ tsp liquid red food colouring

52g plain flour

15g margarine, melted and cooled down slightly

For the filling:

50g strawberry jam

120ml double cream

2 tsp icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

For the chocolate glaze:

150g dark chocolate

2 tbsp golden syrup

2 tbsp margarine

Toasted hazelnuts, chopped, to decorate

Preheat the oven to 160˚C. Line the base of a large straight sided roasting tin that fits in your oven with baking parchment, making sure it comes up the sides slightly.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar using an electric whisk until it reaches the ribbon stage (see above). Add in the red food colouring and whisk until it is the colour of strawberry ice cream.

Sift in the plain flour so it covers the whole surface of the egg and sugar mixture and then using a spatula, fold through the flour working quickly until incorporated, scraping all the way to the bottom of the bowl. Remove a spatula’s worth of the cake batter and place into a bowl with the melted margarine and beat to combine. Then fold the 2 batters together until even.

Pour the batter into the roasting tin with the bowl close to the base of the tin. Tilt the tin to spread out the batter, making sure it fills in the corners too. Bake the sponge for around 7-9 minutes or until it is firm and springs back to the touch.

While the sponge is baking, dust a sheet of baking parchment larger than the tin with icing sugar. Once baked, remove the sponge from the tin and place onto a cooling rack. In one movement, flip the sponge straight onto the icing sugar and peel off the parchment. Create a tight roll with the sugared baking parchment inside the sponge starting with the shorter side and leave to cool.

Meanwhile prepare the fillings. Beat the jam with a drop of boiling water to loosen. Whip the double cream and icing sugar until it forms a medium peak.

Trim the edges of the sponge and then divide the rest into 12 even rectangles. Spread a thin layer of the jam on each sponge and then spread an even layer of cream on each rectangle, leaving a 1cm gap at the end of each rectangle. Tightly roll up each of the mini rolls and then refrigerate to chill the cream.


Prepare the chocolate glaze by melting together the dark chocolate, golden syrup and margarine either over a bain marie or in the microwave in 20 second intervals until it is smooth and glossy. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Remove the mini rolls from the fridge and use a knife to smooth the cream at the ends if necessary. Space the 12 rolls out on a cooling rack set over a baking tray lined with a sheet of greaseproof paper.

Spoon the glaze over each roll one by one, spreading it with a spoon and letting the excess drip onto the tray, leaving the ends exposed at this stage. Repeat with all 12. Then carefully cover the exposed ends by filling the spoon with the glaze and pressing lightly on the ends. Repeat until all ends are covered and then check all the rolls and fill in any gaps with the leftover glaze or the glaze that has dripped onto the tray. Sprinkle on a single line of the toasted hazelnuts.


Leave the glaze to set at room temperature for around an hour until it doesn’t stick to your finger when touched. Then use a fork to lift the mini rolls off the rack and onto a plate/tray and refrigerate for a couple of hours until the glaze has set hard.

Follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and make sure to check out my previous recipe for No Churn Black Sesame Ice Cream!

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.